by Lauren Neilan
ANDOVER, Mass. – PGA REACH New England and the New England PGA Section hosted the Third Annual “Birdies 2 Benefit” fundraiser on Monday, August 14th at Andover Country Club. New England PGA Professionals raised over $200,000 for three amazing charities: PGA REACH New England, Special Olympics Massachusetts, and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Thirty-five players, in combinations of twosomes, threesomes, or single players, set out to play 54 holes of golf at Andover Country Club with the mission to make as many birdies as possible. In total, the B2B squad racked up 566 birdies in the scramble or individual stroke play format event.
Team NACC Nines, consisting of Matt Lombard, PGA (North Andover CC), Rob Neaton, and Nathan Myers, PGA (Ipswich CC) tallied the most birdies in the event, with a total of 50 birdies. Team NACC Nines also raised a total of $5,025.00.
Team Holy Ridge raised an impressive $35,051.00 for the three non-profit organizations with a total birdie count of 36. This team included Darren Falk, PGA, Jennifer O’Connor, PGA, and Joe O’Connor, PGA all from Holly Ridge GC.
Just behind team Holly Ridge in donation dollars was Team Bay Club, raising $34,984.00. Team Bay Club, consisting of Ben Egan, PGA, Justin DeBortoli, and Brady Weglowski, from The Bay Club at Mattapoisett, brought in the highest per birdie pledge, receiving $347 for all 36 birdies made.
Weglowski, a patient of Boston Children’s Hospital, has raised over $1 million dollars for the hospital. He was proud to be a part of the event this year.
“As somebody who has been impacted through the funding of “Birdies 2 Benefit” it means a lot to everyone involved in the hospital,” said Weglowski. “Especially during the holidays and birthdays…this goes a long way for a lot of people”.
Representatives from both Boston Children’s Hospital and Special Olympics Massachusetts were on site for the third annual event.
“We are truly blown away by this effort every single year,” said Jess Brandi, Senior Officer, Special Events at Boston Children’s Hospital. “For you all to beat last year’s total, it is a testament to how hard you all work to fundraise and collect pledges. All of this funding supports our Child Life team. You are bringing so much joy to the hospital. That’s the whole motto for Child Life… to make sure children can celebrate their birthdays, the holidays… that they have joy in every day.”
Mikey, JJ, and Tyler, three Special Olympic Massachusetts Athletes joined the New England PGA for the day of fundraising. Tyler joined the intern team for their third round of the day and contributed to nine of the 27 birdies made with the team raising $1,906.00.
“We couldn’t do what we do without funding from partners like the New England PGA,” said Steve Huftalen, Executive Vice President of Development and Marketing, Special Olympics – MA. “It’s a real privilege to be associated with the New England PGA here in Massachusetts. We pride ourselves on providing sports and competition at every level. To be partnered with the top of all sports industries is amazing for us”.
In just three years, PGA REACH New England and the New England PGA have raised over $645,000 for the three non-profit organizations.
PGA REACH New England is grateful to Andover Country Club and the Cormier Family for once again hosting the “Birdies 2 Benefit” fundraiser.
This year, PGA REACH New England and the New England PGA proudly welcomed the first supporting partner of the “Birdies 2 Benefit” initiative, UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group). UKG has made a two-year commitment to support the “Birdies 2 Benefit” cause as the Official Player’s Partner.
“UKG is proud to support the charitable charter of “Birdies 2 Benefit,” said Jody Piper, Manager of Field Marketing. “As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, UKG champions great workplaces and builds lifelong partnerships. Birdies 2 Benefit is such a creative way for the New England golf community to raise awareness and funds for such worthy causes.”
(Lauren Neilan is Marketing & Communications Manager for New England PGA Section)