Kiawah Friendship Cup 2015

The ninth annual Friendship Cup, “Golf’s Fifth Major”, was held the weekend of March 5-8, 2015 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The 36-hole tournament consisting of 88 teams playing in a two man best-ball format was contested at the world-renowned Ocean Course, site of the 2012 PGA Championship, and the Jack Nicklaus designed Turtle Point.

Traditionally the tournament has been scheduled as straight tee times, but in 2015 the tournament organizers wanted to add some additional fun after the round and give participants some down time before the nightly festivities. Sweetwater Beer sponsored a “shoot out” closest-to-the-pin contest on the range each day and the winners took home $1000 each. Congrats to Friday’s winner – Mike Althouse and Saturday’s winner – Justin Aarsvold.

Team Michael Iwanicki and Charles Kalenowski, took home first place, with a best ball net of -16. They won by a tie breaker using the back nine Ocean Course score of 31 just beating Team Shannon Spillman and Jonathan Lee with 34 as their back nine score.

Charles Kalenowski was also awarded Individual Low Net with a score of 140. Hugh Morrison took home individual Low Gross with a score of 145. This was the 2nd year of our Senior Division Team Competition and brothers Tony and Gary Odachowski proudly took home custom matching rocking chairs and will be donned with matching Loudmouth jackets at the 2016 Past Champions Dinner. This was the first year we awarded a Team Gross trophy and Team Hugh Morrison and Richard Grindon took home the trophy.

All teams finishing in the top 10 earned the chance to choose from a wide variety of prizes, including golf packages at Kiawah Island Golf Resort and destination trips all across the country. The dreaded “Donkey” award, which recognized the team finishing last, is also handed out at closing awards banquet. This year’s “winners” were Team Johnny Vacarro and Joel Payne finished 62 over. In their defense, they chose to play as scratch without established handicaps so maybe they aren’t THAT bad.

We must recognize our first ever Hole-In-One for The Friendship Cup-John Hunt – who won an Audi valued at $42,000 from McDaniels Audi of Charleston!

Dean from Toronto was a first time attendee and said, “A first class event with countless amenities, incredible amount of thought and planning, amazing value and tireless efforts from all professionals involved in this tournament.”

Steven from Atlanta perfectly summarized the overall sentiment from the players, saying, “The Friendship Cup is an event based around great competition and pure entertainment. When you add in the amazing resort and world championship golf courses, it’s undoubtedly one of the best amateur golf events in the world”.

The tournament includes three night’s accommodations with unique dinner events at the resort, an assortment of gifts provided by sponsors, two rounds of golf, and three nights of a hospitality suite which features a golf simulator, putting contests, comedians, and other fun competitions.

This year’s sponsors included the Charleston Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. They are why the Charleston area including Kiawah continues to be recognized as one of the best areas to visit in the country and the world! Titleist & Footjoy provided 7 amenity packages valued at $500 retail for each participant. Boston Beer (aka Sam Adams) & Southern Eagle Distributing (aka Bud family products) as well as Ben Arnold Beverage were our beer, wine and liquor sponsors keeping the mood fun and relaxed. Other partners, included VPAR live scoring, Full Swing Golf Simulators, Harbor Linen, Southwest, McDaniels Audi, Coastal Golf Marketing, Dicks Sporting Goods and Rewind Candles.

The 10th Annual Friendship Cup is scheduled for March 10 – 13, 2016, and is already circled on the calendar for many of the players. “It’s a year 10 and it’s going to be epic!” promises Tournament Founder and Chairman Tom Bewley.

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