The Showcase is just two years old, but it’s growing up in a hurry.
The Showcase, which combined a Keith Urban concert and a few days of golf and fundraisers, generated at least $1.3 million for the Community Cancer Fund, more than doubling the $550,000 check from last year’s inaugural event.
The festivities wrapped up Monday with a nine-hole exhibition at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, where quality shot-making was rivaled by one-liners fired off by PGA pros Alex Prugh, Jason Gore and Andres Gonzales and the Web.com Tour’s Joel Dahmen, and celebrities Ryan Longwell, Grant Fuhr, Neil Lomax and Detlef Schrempf.
Prugh and partner Fuhr, the hockey Hall of Famer, birdied the last hole – the Resort’s renowned floating green – to share first with Dahmen, the Clarkston native, and Lomax at 3 under. Gore and Longwell, the ex-Green Bay and Minnesota kicker, and Gonzales and former Seattle SuperSonic Schrempf both finished 1 over.
“Eighteen-hole playoff tomorrow!” cracked Lomax, the former NFL quarterback.
The pros made time in their busy schedules to help raise money for the fight against cancer on a local level. Prugh, a Spokane native who lives in Las Vegas, recruited Gore and Gonzales.
“My mom is a breast cancer survivor, Andres’ dad passed away from cancer,” Gore said. “It’s a great cause and you can’t beat coming to this place. I’ve seen that (gesturing toward the floating green) in pictures but it’s completely different now looking at it.”
“I was watching people raise paddles for $25,000 donations. It was incredible,” said Dahmen, a cancer survivor. “I think they raised about $200,000 in about two minutes. It’s personal, it’s close to me and it’s close to everybody. It’s just great to be part of this.”
At a clinic prior to the exhibition, the pros offered pointers and fielded questions from the audience and emcee Todd Lewis of the Golf Channel. Gore joked that his lone Tour win (the 84 Lumber Classic in 2005) came in “1778. Had to beat Abe Lincoln in a playoff.” Gonzales promised to swim to the green if he aced No. 14, the floating green. Prugh went into vivid detail describing his first hole-in-one in 2007 at Manito, mentioning the yardage, club and that the ball one-hopped into the cup.
“August 15th,” a smiling Prugh recalled, “give or take a day.”
Then they held an impromptu closest-to-the-pin contest from the driving range to the floating green, about 185 yards away with a brisk sidewind. All four hit the green.
Prugh bombed a drive on No. 1 about 30 yards past his counterparts, leading to an easy birdie. Gore took on a downhill lie in a greenside bunker with one foot in the bunker and one stationed on the grass, and knocked it 3 feet from the hole.
Prugh, Dahmen and Gore all hit the green on the 227-yard 17th, with Fuhr burying a 12-footer for birdie.
Gore/Longwell and Dahmen/Lomax birdied the par-5 ninth that ranks as the No. 1 handicap hole and played into the wind. On the fifth hole, Gore sought counsel with a stand of tall trees impeding his path to the green. “Holy cow,” Gonzales offered. “Nobody came out here to watch you lay up.” Gore promptly plunked a tree on his approach shot.
On the eighth hole, the 336-yard 13th, Dahmen blasted driver within 5 feet – drawing the loudest ovation of the day – and Gonzales dropped a 3-wood within 20 feet. Both teams birdied with Lomax narrowly missing his eagle putt.
Prugh’s 9-iron on the 151-yard final hole nestled within 8 feet and he drained the birdie putt.
“It was fun, a good group of guys,” Prugh said, “and a lot of laughs.”
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