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Inaugural Ascension Charity Classic raises $800,000 for nonprofits, surpassing projections

The tournament’s three primary beneficiaries will each receive $200,000 from this year’s event
Credit: SLBJ
The Ascension Charity Classic said its inaugural event will provide more than $800,000 to local charities.

ST. LOUIS — The Ascension Charity Classic said Wednesday its inaugural PGA Tour Champions tournament will provide charitable organizations with more than $800,000, a figure that far surpassed organizers initial projections.

The tournament’s three primary beneficiaries — Marygrove, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis — will each receive $200,000 from this year’s event. Net proceeds from the professional golf tournament, held last month at Norwood Hills Country Club, are earmarked for local charities.

Other charities receiving funding include First Tee of Greater St. Louis and PGA REACH Gateway, which were awarded $30,000. Those funds were generated as part of the tournament's Legends Charity Challenge exhibition, which featured St. Louis Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith and St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube playing alongside famed golfers Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

Ascension Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Nick Ragone said corporate partnerships and record-setting attendance helped the professional golf tournament blow past its initial projections for this year’s charitable contributions. He said tournament organizers expected $500,000 in donations.

“The PGA Tour Champions is thrilled. It is one of the most charitable tournaments already on tour,” Ragone said. “This is exactly what we thought St. Louis was going to deliver, which is supporting the great event in North County to give back to some wonderful charities. It gives us such a foundation for the future going forward.”

The Ascension Charity Classic's three-day, 54-hole tournament as well as its pro-am event drew 51,000 fans, a figure officials said set a record for a first-time event on the PGA’s senior circuit. David Toms prevailed as winner, besting Dicky Pride on the tournament's final day in a one-hole playoff. 

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