|NB3 Challenge brings legends,
upcoming stars to Atunyote
August 31, 2011
VERNON – Both young and old showed up to
watch living legends Tiger Woods, Annika
Sorenstam and some of the best young players
in the game during Wednesday's 4th Annual
Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge at
Atunyote Golf Club.
Approximately 4,000 spectators enjoyed some
great golf, verbal sparring - notably between
Woods and his longtime friend, Begay - on a
sunny and warm afternoon on the rolling hills of
one of New York state's finest courses.
In the end, Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr birdied
the par-5 18th hole to shoot 11-under 61 to edge
fan favorites Annika Sorenstam and Rickie
Fowler by a stroke to win the $100,000 winner's
It was the second consecutive victory for Kerry
and Mahan, who carded a 10-under 62 in 2010.
Tiger Woods and Suzann Pettersen finished third
at 9-under, while host Notah Begay III and Natalie
Gulbis finished at 7-under.
"We definitely played off of each other and that's
what you have to do to be a good team," said
Kerr, a two-time major champion, who is currently
ranked third in the world..
"We gave ourself a ton of looks and on a course
like this and with pure greens like this you have
an opportunity to make a lot of putts," said
Mahan, the 21st ranked player in world. "Cristie
is a great putter and I had pretty good speed
today and rolled some in."
Competition aside, the real story of the NB3
Challenge is the crowds that came out to watch
legends like Tiger Woods and Annika
Sorenstam, as well as upcoming precocious
talents like Rickie Fowler. That dynamic made for
a fun day for the players and spectators as well
as a successful event that raised $500,000 for
the Begay's Foundation.
Rome's Rosaria Sbaraglia, 85, had watching
Tiger Woods as one of her "Bucket List" events.
She showed up, wheelchair in all, to watch with a
"Bucket List Brigade" sign.
"I like them all, but really want to see Tiger,"
Sbaraglia said as she eagerly waited alongside
the first tee.
Sbaraglia didn't only get her wish, Woods
stopped by to shake her hand and give her his
Woods still has as much star power as anyone
on Tour. He is just a little more of a polarizing
figure. There aren't many neutral fans when
discussing Tiger Woods. He's become much like
the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys. Either
you love him or you don't.
One thing is for certain, Rickie Fowler has
everything fans are looking for in a superstar
and has the qualities to overtake Woods and Phil
Mickelson as the most beloved player on the
Fowler and Sorenstam played in the first group
along with Mahan and Kerr. One would expect
the majority of the crowd to follow Woods' group,
but from the majority of the day, it was pretty
evenly split, and most people not following Tiger,
were there to watch Fowler.
He just needs to notch a few victories to reach
that status. He has the looks, the charisma and
the kindness that appeals to fans of all ages. It
by the hundreds of young kids dressed in the
wild PUMA colors, he already has that
demographic locked down.
While Woods and others waited mostly until play
was over to sign autographs, Sorenstam and
Fowler were the most gracious of the players,
frequently stopping between holes to give 10-20
"I came here to see Fowler," said 15-year-old Ian
Campbell, who plays golf for Canastota High
School and dresses much like Fowler.
"I became a big fan of his at this event last year
... I liked his attitude toward the fans and the way
he dressed and ever since I've been wearing that
style of golf clothes when I play."
Cortland's Clif Dutcher will never forget his first
time watching Woods. On the 5th hole, Dutcher
was hit squarely on the lower right leg by Woods'
"We just came up here to see him and it's the
first time I've seen him play live," said Dutcher,
who had a large welt where he was struck.
"I've been playing golf for 30 years and I've
never been hit by a ball, so it's amazing that this
After the event, Begay was very pleased with the
turnout and the success of the event, which is in
the final year of its contract with Turning Stone.
"Our contract is up this year with Turning Stone.
We'd love to stay here and continue to raise
money for the cause, but they've been such a
tremendous partner through the years and I can't
thank them enough and hopefully we can work
something out," said Begay.
Originally this event was supposed to feature
some NFL stars, such as Tony Romo and Sam
Bradford, but Woods injury forced a
postponement and it turned into a field of just
"The format is up in the air," Begay said. "We
thought it was going to be a good format with the
NFL players with the lockout, and having to move
the date, I think this was a blessing in disquise,
because I think this turned out extremely well."
The Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge
began in 2008 when Begay, the PGA TOUR’s
only full-blooded Native American golfer and a
long-time advocate in the battle for improved
public health in Native American communities,
partnered with the San Manuel Band of Serrano
Mission Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation
and created the event to raise money and further
the mission of the Notah Begay III Foundation.
Since its inception, the Notah Begay III
Foundation Challenge has raised more than $2.5
million for the Foundation.
The tangible results of these efforts include golf
and soccer clubs for Native American youth and
the construction of a first-of-its-kind soccer
facility and community park on the land of the
San Felipe Pueblo.
For more information about the NB3 Foundation
Challenge, visit: www.nb3challenge.com.
|2011 NB3 Foundation Challenge
|Mahan, Kerr repeat; Woods, Fowler are fan favorites
ABOVE: Tiger Woods smiles on the 18th green during
Wednesday's 4th Annual Notah Begay III Foundation
Challenge at Atunyote Golf Club in Vernon.
BELOW: Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr fist bump on the 18th
green after winning their second consecutive title.
ABOVE: 85-year-old Rosaria Sbaraglia holds up her "Bucket
List Brigade" sign on the first hole while waiting to see Tiger
Woods tee off.
BELOW: Ian Campbell shows off Rickie Fowler's signature on
his hat on the 10th hole.
(above) laughs off
getting hit by a
Tiger Woods drive
on his right leg (left).
ABOVE: Participants in Wednesday's NB3 Challenge line up for the post-round ceremony on the 18th green. From
left are: Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, Natalie Gulbis, Suzann Pettersen, Annika Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr, Hunter
Mahan and Notah Begay III.
BELOW: Rickie Fowler tees off in front of a huge crowd on the first hole.