Tournament Raises More Than $180,000 for Quake Victims

Elmo Rey Arciaga / The Pioneer

Amanda Zepeda

The PGA, Jerry Rice and the Salvation Army partnered with CSUEB to raise money for quake victims in Japan at the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course in the Hayward hills.

Nestled in the beautiful Hayward Hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay lies the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course, the venue of the 2011 Fresh Express Classic Golf Tournament.

CSU East Bay, the Nationwide Tours (PGA), Jerry Rice and the Salvation Army partnered in this event to raise money for tsunami relief efforts, with proceeds from tournament attendance and sales going toward helping Japan’s disaster recovery.

The nationally televised event began on Thursday, April 14, and continued throughout the weekend, concluding on Sunday.

Sunday’s festivities, however, were short-lived, as heavy fog caused the fourth and final round of the tournament to be wrapped up early.

When it was all said and done, Daniel Chopra, the 37-year-old professional golfer from Sweden, took home this year’s championship trophy and a check for $108,000.

Chopra’s efforts in Saturday’s round three, where he posted a course record 61 in par 70 to reach 12-under 198, propelled him to the top spot of the tournament.

Chopra collected his third win in the Nationwide PGA tour with his victory over the weekend.

Both his previous wins came back in 2004, at the First Tee Arkansas Classic and the Henrico County Open.

On Saturday, the 2011 Fresh Express Classic hosted the second annual College Day where a special section was set up for CSUEB students, faculty and alumni to socialize and mingle with one another at the “9th Green Bird’s Nest.”

Students on hand at the event agreed that it was a great experience to be in a professional golf tournament atmosphere and to contribute to the tsunami relief efforts by attending the event.

The location of the tournament worked to the students’ advantage as it is conveniently located a couple miles from the CSUEB campus.

TPC Stonebrae might have a reputation for being a fairly tough course for golfers, but has a greater reputation for the astonishing views it provides of the Bay Area.

Tournament host and pro football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice returned to take on hosting duties and also competed as a professional contestant in the tournament for the second year in a row.

“Having the tournament hosted by Jerry Rice definitely helps getting people from all places to come out,” said Greg Rogers, head golf professional for the Fresh Express Classic and at TPC Stonebrae.

“The event this weekend is the third year of the Fresh Express Classic and it’s been great. We’ve had a lot of buzz not only around the Bay Area, but around the state.”

The tournament was aired on the Golf Channel for four days straight in 190 countries around the world.

“All this puts Hayward on the map and draws people out to a great time on a tour that’s growing rapidly,” said Rogers.

“This is the proving ground for the PGA Tour, so to have these professionals come out here is great. These are household names that you’ve seen on the tour, and it is growing so rapidly that you’re going to see these guys at the Masters and the U.S. Open and winning the PGA Tour in years to come.”

Rogers, along with the rest of the Fresh Express Classic team, look to continue the tournament for many years to come with the success that it has attained over the past few years.

This year the tournament raised more than $180,000 for Japan and for other local charities.

One of the core values of the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course is to get involved and to give back to the community, something they clearly demonstrated by being the home of the 2011 Fresh Express Classic.