More than 150 players are in River Hills eyeing one of the biggest paydays in developmental golf, and perhaps a breakthrough moment toward a pro career.
The River Hills Championship started Aug. 27 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 30. The 156-player event is the first in the eGolf Million Dollar Championship Series. The tournament guarantees a $225,000 purse and more than $30,000 for the winner. Four series events run through December with $1 million in prize money up for grabs, a record for Charlotte-based eGolf Professional Tour.
“River Hills is very proud to host this prestigious event with the eGolf Tour and we expect our course to provide an excellent test of golf for the participants,” said Jim Sutton, club general manager.
Players include top contenders from three eGolf tours, along with young pros, recent collegiate golfers and international players. Player Travis Ross, 26, of the Ballantyne area in Charlotte carded his fourth ever hole-in-one before lunch time opening day on the par 3 17th hole.
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Ross said events like this make a difference for golfers looking to move up the pro rankings.
“Now we’re actually playing for some decent money to where you play good, and you can kind of help yourself make a little extra living,” he said.
Other series courses are in Hilton Head, Mississsippi and Nevada. The series wanted a course near its Charlotte base, and recent improvements to the course at River Hills Country Club made it a prime candidate.
“The course is one of the most demanding we’ll see all year, and the conditioning is on par with some of the best clubs in the Carolinas,” said David Siegel, president of eGolf.
The River Hills course opened in 1969, with its latest update in 2012 including a conversion to new, heat-resistant Champion Bermuda greens. A goal was for the course to hold up better in the hot summers than it had with bent grass greens.
“Our golf course is in outstanding condition, and our Champion Bermuda greens may be some of the best these players will face all year,” Sutton said. “It’s going to be a special week.”
This is the sixth eGolf tournament at River Hills. Two past winners, Brice Garnett and Roberto Castro, are current PGA Tour members. Siegel expects another “stern test” from the course.
“You can often judge the championship-nature of a course by the winners it produces, and River Hills has produced some of our best,” he said.
For more, visit egolfprofessionaltour.com.