Golf Tourney First Of Its Kind Locally

August 30, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Founders Trust Personal Bank took a new step into community stewardship last week when it announced plans to stage the inaugural Founders Trust Challenge in the summer of 2005. The two-day event will pit 12-member teams of amateur women golfers from private clubs and public courses against each other, and will provide a showcase for West Michigan women's amateur golf.

This is the first time that Founders Trust has served as a title sponsor in its 14-year history.

"We expect to attract the top prep and college players, along with amateur stars who represent the complete spectrum of women's golf," Founders President and CEO Laurie Finney Beard said. "This is very exciting for us. This marks a new period in our life as a community bank to put our name on something of this magnitude."

The event will be played jointly at Egypt Valley Country Club in AdaTownship and The Meadows Golf Club at GrandValleyStateUniversity in Allendale.

The teams will begin the competition with six "better-ball" matches at The Meadows and will conclude with 12 singles matches the following day at EgyptValley. A committee comprised of golf professionals, high school and college golf coaches and golf industry experts will select the teams.

Beard explained that the event is designed to spur growth and interest in women's golf in the cities and towns in which her bank operates.

"We think the staging of the Founders Trust Challenge will be a great tribute to the women of West Michigan in general and to women's golf in particular."

The Founders Trust Challenge will be women's golf's answer to the Wachovia Cup, the men's amateur tournament played last week at L.E Kaufman Golf Course and Blythefield Country Club.

The host clubs for the competition echoed Beard's statements.

"We believe this is a perfect way to honor our commitment of stewardship to women's golf," said Stephan Pastoor, general manager of EgyptValley. "We believe this event will be the best of its kind in the state."

"We have watched area golf fans become more excited and interested in the young golfers who will become the stars of the future," added The Meadows General Manager Terry Sack. "This will bring together and display all the diverse elements of women's golf in West Michigan."

EgyptValley has hosted such women's events as the Michigan Amateur Championship and the Michigan Tournament of (Club) Champions. The Meadows has hosted several NCAA II and III championships.

According to Beard, there has never been a more exciting time for women's golf in golf-rich Michigan

"Each year more girls compete in high school golf, and our state's colleges have seen a dramatic improvement in their women's golf teams, thanks to increased funding and interest in the opportunities for young women," she said. "We're delighted to be providing the stage for these outstanding golfers that live, work and attend school in West Michigan."    

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