IRVING -- The PGA Tour has five events in Texas, including the Nelson and the Colonial in May, but DFW's professional golf action officially gets underway the final weekend in April as the LPGA's only stop in the Lone Star State brings an elite field to Las Colinas Country Club for the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.
The fun got underway with the LPGA Kick-Off Par-Tee on the driving range at Las Colinas Country Club, that included food, drink and music. The evening was highlighted by a "Pros vs. Joes" contest between five CBS Radio personalities and three LPGA professionals and the biggest star of the night was Flower Mound resident Gerina Piller.
"This tournament is a blast," Piller said."I love getting to play at home in Texas. When I first came here, we were so pumped up to have an event in Texas. It's such a great golf community and there are so many great golf courses here. Being so close to my home in Flower Mound, my family gets to come watch and that makes it very special."
There were three parts to the contest which all went to raise money to benefit Volunteers of America. First they had a Big Break-style set-up on the edge of the range with the golfers racing to break the glass that was roughly 10 yards in front of them. The CBS Radio personalities that included Sybil Summers, Tanner Kloven, Billy Kid, R.J. Choppy and Nathan Fast gave it a good effort, but the LPGA players Piller, Brittany Lang and Joanna Klatten basically all shattered the glass within seconds of the other to win the first round.
Piller was given the chance to "double down" and add to the charitable contributions if she could break the glass again and she had one attempt to make it happen.
She nailed it.
Next up, the crowd was allowed out on the range tee and surrounded the competitors as they attempted a 100-yard shot to one of the target greens for a closest to the pin competition. The pros were the victors and Piller again had the opportunity to hit an extra shot to earn more money for the charity.
She nailed it.
The final contest took place on the No. 10 tee box as they had a make shift 100-yard hole that had the players taking dead aim downhill to the No. 9 green with the two-round competition going to whoever was closest to the hole.
Piller won with a shot that landed 13 feet, nine inches from the pin. Asked if she could hit it closer to raise more money for the charity, she accepted the challenge.
You guessed it, she nailed it, knocking it stiff to within seven feet.
It was a fun, interactive event that concluded with the LPGA pros being extremely accommodating with taking pictures and visiting with the fans.
"We're the first non-profit to every become title sponsor of a professional golf tournament," said Mike King, President and CEO of Volunteers of America. "We did it originally because of the branding opportunity to get our name in front of folks with an incredibly wholesome group of athletes who are the very best in the world at what they do.
"The crowd here tonight speaks to the excitement of the event," King continued. "This community has supported this event from the first year on and they are really proud to have it here."
The Volunteers of America Texas Shootout is April 26-30 at Las Colinas Country Club. Big names in the field include world No. 1 Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson.
Wednesday Pro-Am tickets are $10, daily tickets are $25, weekly badges are $50 and the Mustang Club presented by NEC (open air hospitality suite on the No. 18 green with food and beverage provided by Cool River Cafe) are $125-$175. Tickets are available at LPGATX.com.
FOLLOW JAY BETSILL ON TWITTER @THEFAMOUSJAY