Monday, July 03, 2006

Texans Face Off in Trump Million Dollar Invitational

Two Texans, one naturalized and one native, squared off in the finals of the Trump Million Dollar Invitational, and in the end the naturalized Texan walked away the biggest payday of his (or most other golfers') professional career.

The naturalized Texan is Stuart Deane, an Australian who lives in Arlington. The native Texan is Gibby Martens, a San Antonian now living in Arizona while playing the mini-tour circuit.

The event, played in The Grenadines, pitted members of the U.S. Pro Golf Tour in a shootout format - one player eliminated on each hole, the rest moving on to the next hole.

At the end, only Deane and Martens were left, and they had to go to a playoff hole before Deane emerged the victor to claim the $1 million first prize. Martens picked up $150,000 for finishing second, almost certainly the biggest check of his career, too.

Deane was, as you can imagine, very happy with his payday.

"What this will allow me to do is devote more time to becoming a better golfer and take the pressure off paying bills for awhile." But it will also allow him to indulge his love of cars: "I'm a big automobile nut, so I'm going out and buying a great new car."

Deane is also going to set aside some of the $1 million prize for charity. He and six of his fellow Australian golfers who live in the DFW area started a charity called Birdies for Kids, and some of the money will go to support that organization.

"We started (Birdies for Kids) because we simply wanted to say ‘thanks’," Deane said. "We all feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the United States and wanted to do something to give back to our local community. Basically in our own small way, we simply want to help make a difference."

Proceeds from Birdies for Kids fund-raisers benefit the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation's Golf In Schools program.

For more info on the event, see the Trump Million Dollar Invitational Web site. For more info on the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation, go here.

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