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Home A shot at glory

Ever wonder what it would be like to hit a shot on the famed par-3, 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open? One lucky fan will get that chance…as a golf fan along with a host of community heroes and tournament sponsors will tee-it-up for charity in a unique closest-to-the-pin contest on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the Shot at Glory is a friendly competition featuring roughly 20 participants and will take place following the completion of the FBR/Xerox Silver Pro-Am at approximately 3:30 pm. The event is open to spectators – in fact Waste Management Phoenix Open fans are encouraged to stick around and cheer-on the participants.

This year’s competition will pay tribute to Wounded Warriors, Operation Homefront, Semper Fi Fund and the Arizona National Guard Emergency Relief Fund, as a number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans will be participating in the competition, including Jared LaDuke.

LaDuke nearly lost his left leg in Iraq in 2009 after his vehicle was struck by an electronic fire projectile. To make matters worse, his two-year-old son, Talon, had surgery six months ago to treat Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic disease that causes joint pain and swelling. Struggling with finances, Operation Homefront gave them a free apartment at the Operation Homefront Village-San Antonio to ease the burden until the Purple Heart recipient could fully recover.

Stephen Fangio, a professional golfer, golf instructor and motivational speaker, will be one of the participants. The 52-year-old Fangio lost his left leg at the hip in a motorcycle accident at the age of 22, ending a promising career in professional soccer. He doesn’t use a prosthetic and he plays off of his right leg, using crutches to navigate the course. His professional golf career began in 1997, and he has played in a number of qualifying events for the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour. His dream now is to qualify for the Champions Tour, a journey that will be followed by cameras for a new reality-based television series currently in production called “Improving Your Handicap.” If you ever are in need of some inspiration, then take a moment to see more of Fangio’s story. It will leave a lasting impression.

Tournament host The Thunderbirds will award more than $150,000 to the charities chosen by each competitor. Plus, if a participant makes a hole-in-one, $1 million will be given away ($500,000 to the competitor, $250,000 to the charity of their choice and $250,000 to a military related charity). If no one makes a hole-in-one, $60,000 will be donated to the charity of the participant who is closest-to-the-pin, while $35,000 and $20,000 will be donated to the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, respectively.  Each of the remaining participant’s charities will receive $1,500.

One lucky fan will also get a chance to participate in the TriWest Healthcare Alliance Shot at Glory through the Waste Management Phoenix Open Facebook Sweepstakes, which will run through Tuesday when the grand prize winner will be announced.  To enter and view the sweepstakes, visit www.facebook.com/wmphoenixopen and click on the “Sweepstakes” tab at the top of the page.