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MAULDIN, S.C. -- The 2007 Bi-Lo Charity Classic, Bi-Lo's annual golf event, has raised more than $5.55 million, the regional grocer said yesterday. This breaks the tournament's record of $5.51 million set last year.
The annual event, in its 24th year, was held on June 11 on 14 golf courses in North and South Carolina. Recognized as the nation's largest one-day benefit golf tournament, the Bi-Lo Charity Classic hosted 1,470 golfers. The tournament raises funds for charitable organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
"The money we raise significantly impacts all of the communities in which we operate," said Brian Hotarek, Bi-Lo's president and c.e.o., in a statement. "Needs continue to increase each year, and so we try to step up our giving."
Hotarek expressed appreciation to the vendors that supported the tournament at unprecedented levels during a year in which the chain has announced it is seeking a new owner. "Our team at Bi-Lo considers this a strong vote of confidence in our future," he said.
Golfers at The Reserve at Lake Keowee enjoyed one of the biggest surprises of the day: an unannounced visit by world-famous golfer Arnold Palmer. According to Bo Bowden, course pro at The Reserve, Palmer had been scheduled to visit the course to do an interview with "Golf Week" and to take some pictures for an upcoming advertising campaign. When Bowden asked Palmer if he would be willing to speak to the group, Palmer obliged. "We thought it was a great way to kick off our involvement with the tournament," said Bowden.
This year's inaugural tournament honored the founders of the Bi-Lo Charity Classic: Dean Anderson, retired c.e.o. of Leslie Advertising; Larry Greer, principal of Western Marketing; Doug Smith, former general manager at WYFF in Greenville; and Bill Yingling, former president of Bo-Lo.