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Tacoma man a finalist for U.S. Open Challenge

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on March 31, 2010 at 4:10 pm with No Comments »
March 31, 2010 4:10 pm

Wayne Gretzky … Drew Brees … Mark Wahlberg … and Kenny Evans.

This could be the foursome for the nationally-televised 2010 Golf Digest/U.S. Open Challenge at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Who is Evans, you ask? He’s a 1983 Clover Park High School graduate who just moved back into the area in January after taking job in the finance department at Verizon Wireless.

And the position he’s in would make any avid golfer jealous. He is one of five finalists to be cast in the national competition to play a round of golf with three celebrities on a course set up under U.S. Open conditions.

To win, Evans would need to receive the most online votes (www.gdopencontest.com) from today until April 30. The public can cast one vote daily – per E-mail address.

Evans, a graduate from the University of Oklahoma (and former Sooners mascot for basketball games), heard about the U.S. Open Challenge when it debuted in 2008.

“I didn’t apply for it. And last year, I heard about it and forgot about the date,” Evans said.

What stuck with Evans after 2009 was the person who played in the U.S. Open Challenge at Bethpage Black – Larry Giebelhausen - was a police lieutenant in Phoenix, and nearby to where Evans lived in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In December, Evans applied online. In 60 words, he had to detail why playing Pebble Beach would be a life-changing experience.

At the end of January, Evans received an E-mail from Golf Digest, confirming he had made the first cut – the top 50. Company representatives flew out to Seattle days later to interview Evans in person.

In February, Evans was notified he made the second cut – the top 13. He was flown out for a three-day interview in Orlando, Fla.

“They treated us great,” Evans said. “And everyone could play (golf).”

On Saturday, Golf Digest and NBC executive phoned Evans to tell him he had been selected as a finalist.

Even before that call, Evans – a 7-handicap who grew up playing Whispering Firs and Fort Steilacoom Golf Courses as a youth – figured he should sharpen his game by taking a few lessons. He is seeing Tacoma’s Todd Erwin.

And if the 44-year-old wins the contest, he’s already asked Erwin to caddie for him at the U.S. Open Challenge.

The other finalists are Eric Weaver of El Paso, Texas; Margaret Ference, of Skillman, N.J.; Eric Hunt, of Norton, Mass. and Scott Fahrney, of Wayne, N.J.

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