Kresge announces autism support benefit pro-am during annual Bristol Rotary charity golf tourney

Pat Kenney • Apr 28, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Va. — Charity was the big winner Monday in the 22nd annual Bristol Morning Rotary golf tournament at The Virginian.

The event, which has raised almost $1 million for area youth charities over the years, brought together amateur and professionals golfers for a scramble shootout.

Former East Tennessee State standout and current Champions Tour player Mike Hulbert put together this year’s list of pros, headlined by Champions standouts Joey Sindelar, Morris Hatalsky, Donnie Hammond and Mike Smith as well as PGA Tour player and Kingsport resident Cliff Kresge. Also participating were Nationwide Tour players Keith Nolan, also an ETSU alum, and Brennan Webb.

“The turnout by the area golfers for this event is great,’’ Hulbert said. “Times are tough, but they along with the pros understand that this event is about giving back to the community.

“There are a lot of kids out there that need our help,” he added. “We professionals know that we are blessed to be able to make our living playing golf. To be able to give back in this way is something that is very important to us.’’

Kresge, who is married to the former Judy Gosselin and is a member at Ridgefields Country Club, used the event as an opportunity to announce an upcoming pro-am to benefit autism support in the United States.

“Ernie Els, myself and a couple of other guys involved in the PGA Tour have children dealing with autism,’’ Kresge explained. “We’re going to have a tournament on Sept. 21 at Ridgefields Country Club that will bring some of the top tour players to Kingsport.’’

Besides Els, Kresge has commitments from players such as Rocco Mediate, Paul Azinger, Camilo Villegas and Rich Beem.

“We’re going to have Vince Gill come up and be our entertainment at the dinner on Sunday night before the pro-am,’’ Kresge added. “We’ll have it set up so that people who can’t play golf can still be a part of the dinner and night with Vince Gill.’’

The foundation Kresge’s Krew was established to oversee the fund raiser.

“Many of us our touched by autism in our lives and recognize how important support is,’’ Kresge said. “Events like the Bristol Morning Rotary tournament and the event we are putting together in the fall show that golf can help benefit kids in so many ways.’’

For more information on the Ridgefields event, contact Kresge at kresgeskrew@gmail.com.

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