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Million Dollar Invitational golf tourney swings off in Canouan

Million Dollar Invitational golf tourney swings off in Canouan

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Raffles Resort Canouan Island welcomed an elite field of 100 golfers from the U.S. and Canada as the first round of the Trump Million Dollar Invitational kicked off three days of qualifying for the $1.6 million tournament on Tuesday.

The Trump Million Dollar Invitational is a three-day, 54-hole stroke play competition without the benefit of handicap. The players with the ten lowest scores after qualifying advance to the Grand Prize Matches on May 26 to a nine-hole playoff where one player will be eliminated on each hole until there are only two players left.{{more}} Those two players will then compete on the final hole for the $1 Million Grand Prize.

The golfers and their guests were entertained by local performance groups, featuring Vincentian musicians and carnival costume masqueraders.

Play got under way early for the first round, with golfers finding the Jim Fazio-designed Trump International Golf Club course challenging from the first hole.

U.S. Pro Golf Tour player William McGirt got a good talking-to after a three-putt on the 3rd hole in day one of the tournament. The person doing the talking and the listening was McGirt himself. “I just told myself that there’s two ways to go. I can either let it get me down or I can move on and try to make some noise,” said McGirt, who’s a regular on the U.S. Pro Golf Tour. McGirt’s five-under-par 67 not only gave him the clubhouse lead, but also set a competitive course record at the tricky Trump International Golf Club. McGirt’s round that included six birdies and one bogey was highlighted by chipping in on the par-four 11th. “I was really happy with the wind and played a good steady round. This is a good test of golf and I couldn’t be more pleased,” the Taylors, South Carolina native said.

Windy conditions, coupled with tight fairways, make the Trump International Golf Club a very difficult course. Only a handful of golfers would shoot in red numbers. USPGT member Chad Ginn of Alexander, Louisiana, headed to the more difficult back nine at four-under-par. Ginn would make that 4-under hold up, shooting even par on the back side, which included a three-putt for bogey on 18. “I just tried to take what the golf course handed me,” Ginn said. “I tried not to take advantage of the course and stay within my game.”

Steve Friesen, from Lincoln, Nebraska, posted a score of three-under-par, 69, which included a two-stroke penalty. “I played solid and was hitting greens,” Friesen said. “I birdied all four par five’s and holed out a wedge on 11 for bird.” Friesen also plays on the U.S. Pro Golf Tour, which earlier announced that the Trump Million Dollar Invitational is a major championship of the USPGT.

Several groups were not able to finish the first round, as slower than normal play delayed start times. The final groups teed-off on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.

The Trump Million Dollar Invitational will be telecast on ESPN on July 2nd, from 1-3 p.m. ET with a re-air on ESPN2 on July 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET as well as syndicated worldwide to over 400 million households.

Raffles sponsored an elaborate welcome reception for the golfers on Monday evening with food displays representing all the Raffles locations around the world and an elaborate walkway of ice sculptures portraying famous golfers, a Raffles signature design.

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