It felt like a flashback in time, strolling the hills of Warwick, hoping for a close-up look of a favorite golfer. The last time Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc hosted a Professional Golfers’ Association event was in 2009 with the notorious Buick Open and Tiger Woods grabbing everyone’s attention.
September 6-10, 2018, Warwick Hills premiered the Ally Challenge, a senior tour featuring some of the best golfers in the world. The tournament was open to players age 50 and over, and dozens of pros returned to the course they knew and loved for many years. Ten former Buick Open winners were cheered on by fans who still hold a place in their heart for these legends.
A woman answered her cellphone and quickly announced, “I can’t talk. I’m watching Vijay.” Vijay Singh captured first place at the Buick Open in 1997, 2004 and 2005. His is still a household name.
When Fred Couples approached the 18th green, the crowd thickened as chants of “Freddie, Freddie,” echoed everywhere. His hair color may have changed a bit, but his intoxicating smile, enduring love for the game and endearing charm remain intact. He signed countless autographs and posed for dozens of photos until a Grand Blanc police officer had to usher him away from a never-ending crowd.
More than 60,000 tickets were sold as people of every age went front and center for the event. Moms pushed strollers, dads brought their young sons to witness history, 60-year-old couples chased after their favorite pro, adults barely of legal drinking age gathered to see some of the all-time golf greats for the first time, 8-year-old kids stood side by side with 75-year-old men – both hoping for a pro golfer’s signature – a wife nodded to her husband to get in line for Lee Janzen’s autograph and groups of women reminisced about the golfers they crushed on years ago.
People played hooky on Friday to experience a day about as perfect as it could get. When the tournament came to a close, Paul Broadhurst hoisted a flagstick-shaped trophy. Championship golf at its greatest with some of the greatest is back at Warwick Hills, and the town is loving it.
THE ALLY CHALLENGE
PRESENTED BY MCLAREN
ANNOUNCES 2019 TOURNAMENT DATES
Second annual tournament set for
at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club
FACTS ABOUT THE INAUGURAL ALLY CHALLENGE
England’s Paul Broadhurst took home the $300,000 top prize with a score of 201 – 15 under par.
The Ally Challenge has a three-year contract with the Champions Tour.
McLaren Health Care was the presenting sponsor, and Detroit-based Ally Financial was the title sponsor.
John P. O’Sullivan Distributing, Inc. was the official beer partner.
Net proceeds from the tournament are earmarked for the Community Foundation of Greater Flint
and Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan.
Additional organizations benefiting are the Birdies for Charities fundraising program
and Grand Blanc Community Schools.
Former Buick Open winners who competed in the Ally Challenge were:
Wood Austin (1995)
Fred Couples (1994)
Dan Forsman (1992)
Billy Mayfair (1998)
Rocco Mediate (2000)
Larry Mize (1993)
Tom Pernice Jr. (1999)
Kenny Perry (2001)
Vijay Singh (1997, 2004, 2005)
Scott Verplank (1988).