DALLAS, Tx (April 17, 2014) — The fruits from the unification of Texas’ two most influential amateur golf organizations were on display Wednesday at Bent Tree Country Club for the eighth playing of the Alliance Cup. More than $20,000 was raised for women’s college scholarships and junior golf initiatives in the first Alliance Cup since the Jan. 1 the merger of the Texas Golf Association and Women’s Texas Golf Association.
"This was the best year we’ve had out of the three times we’ve held the Alliance Cup in Dallas,” said Kelly Kilgo, the Manager Director of the WTGAC. "Joining teams with the TGA has enhanced everything. We have more resources for volunteers, staffing, communications and championship administration. Instead of going down parallel paths separately, now we’re all one team.”
Twenty-two teams of four players each braved chilly mid-40-degree weather with blustery winds of up to 20 mph to take part in the Alliance Cup, which began in 2007 and has raised more than $150,000 for college scholarships and junior golf. Twenty-four of the 88 players this year were men, accounting for 27 percent of the participants. The uptick in male involvement was perhaps a sign of the Alliance Cup’s added exposure from the TGA-WTGA merger.
"It’s really exciting to see how this event has grown,” TGA Executive Director Rob Addington said. "Hopefully with the merger it will continue to grow. We’ll use the funds we raise from this event to continue to cultivate all the junior golf initiatives the WTGA supports.”
The Gross Division winners shot 141 and were led by 2004 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Carolyn Creekmore and two-time Texas Women’s State Champion Stacy Dennis (2004, ’09). USGA Executive Committee member and longtime TGA Board Member Malcolm Holland and veteran national amateur competitor Leslie Henry rounded out the winning team.
"I think it’s great that more men were here in support of women’s golf,” Dennis said. "Golf is great for men. It’s great for women. It’s great for kids, for families and for making friends. Supporting golf in any way is good for everyone. We’re grateful for the support.”
Four U.S. Military veterans from the North Texas Wounded Warriors Golf Association won the Net Division. Andrew Bachelder, Dave Romanowsky, Michael Meyer and Nick Bradley combined to shoot an impressive 132.
"It was really windy out there today. Pretty cold early on, too,” Bachelder said. "We played extremely well together, but more importantly we all had fun. We were invited to play by Carolyn Creekmore, and we were honored to be here. Golf is a great sport. It’s part of our therapy and really helps us. It’s a great game that teaches discipline and how to rely on yourself.”
The WTGA’s sole fund raiser, the Alliance Cup will award its annual college scholarships through the Winner’s Program. Applications for this year’s scholarships are due this month. Last year, Elise Pope from Longview won the Doris Kallina Scholarship. Currently a freshman at Mississippi State, Elise she plans to major in PGA Golf Management. A participant in the Texas Challenge in 2011-12, she said she wants to become a teaching professional and golf course designer.
Mary McCreight from Yantis was the 2013 ‘Nez Muhleman Scholarship winner. A freshman at Texas A&M-Commerce, Mary plans to major in Accounting and hopes to play collegiate golf. Both Elise and Mary will receive $1,000 scholarships for every year (up to four years) they are in school.
"I thought everything went really well today,” Kilgo said. "It was especially great to see all the men supporting the WTGA. It’s always a pleasure to come to Bent Tree Country Club and work with David Price and his staff. This is one of our favorite facilities, and we’re lucky to get to come back here.”
The Alliance Campaign and Alliance Cup tournament began in 2007 to ensure the next generation of golfers benefits from and love the game. The Winners’ Program touches hundreds of girls throughout Texas and rewards them for good grades and golf achievement. Girls in the program can apply for scholarship money, which is held in escrow while they participate in golf and earn their high school diploma.
Through the Winner’s Program, girls in participating cities can win technology rewards that range from laptop computers to Kindle Readers. To further encourage good grades, the city with the best participation in this technology contest is awarded the traveling Toni Wiesner Cup. A three-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up from Fort Worth, Weisner passed away from cancer in 2009.
"Toni was my best friend,” Creekmore said. "I know it would touch her heart to know that award is named after her. I’m proud so many golfers were here today to support the Alliance Cup.”