New name and location for professional golf tournament draws thousands of fans.
RALEIGH, N.C. – Jorge Fernández-Valdés of Argentina won the inaugural UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH at Raleigh Country Club on Sunday.
It was the first win on the Korn Ferry Tour for Fernández-Valdés, 30, who won a playoff with second-place finisher Trent Phillips of South Carolina. Raleigh native Grayson Murray, who took the lead on Saturday, finished tied for third place.
The Triangle region’s most popular professional golf tournament, previously known as the Rex Hospital Open, featured 156 pro golfers competing at a new venue, the prestigious Raleigh Country Club, June 1-4.
Another first: The total purse increased to $1 million, with $180,000 for the winner.
Thousands of fans came out to watch the action, enjoy food and beverages, and more. A record number of volunteers – more than 650 – helped make sure the event ran smoothly.
“We want to thank all of the volunteers, sponsors, community partners and fans for making the first UNC Health Championship such a success,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “UNC Health is proud to build on the important legacy of the Rex Hospital Open by serving as title sponsor for the UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH, connecting with our community and making a difference in the lives of children and families here in the Triangle and across the state.”
The UNC Health Championship offered golf fans the opportunity to watch world-class players compete on one of North Carolina’s top courses, Raleigh Country Club. Designed by renowned architect Donald Ross and operated by McConnell Golf, the course offered expansive views and unobstructed access.
Other pro golfers with local ties included Ben Kohles of Cary, who finished tied for 18th, Ryan Blaum of Durham, who finished tied for 34th, and Carter Jenkins of Raleigh, who finished tied for 56th.
The 2023 UNC Health Championship is an important stop on the Korn Ferry Tour, where top professional golfers compete for a chance to play on the PGA Tour. UNC Health again offered one of its title sponsor exemptions to the top-ranked player in the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Collegiate Ranking.
The 2023 UNC Health Championship supported UNC Children’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health programs. UNC Health’s vision is to expand access to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry services throughout all 100 counties in North Carolina, educate the next generation of pediatric behavioral health clinicians, and establish new, cutting-edge inpatient and outpatient clinical programs, including virtual care. The goal is to dramatically improve outcomes for children and adolescents with behavioral health conditions and accelerate pediatric research and discovery.
The tournament’s first-ever presenting sponsor is Apex-based STITCH Golf, a premium brand that makes golf bags, luggage, head covers, accessories and apparel. This partnership helps elevate the event and a three-year agreement demonstrates their commitment to our community.
Proceeds from the tournament also supported local community partners, including the Poe Center for Health Education, First Tee of the Triangle and the Wake County Boys and Girls Club. These funds will make a difference in the lives of our patients, colleagues and the community by providing grants for community projects and support services.
For more information on the UNC Health Championship, visit unchealthchampionship.com.
ABOUT THE UNC HEALTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Professional golfers from around the world travel to renowned Raleigh Country Club to participate in the Korn Ferry Tour’s UNC Health Championship presented by STITCH. The tournament’s charitable efforts, coupled with its family and fan-friendly environment, attract thousands of golf fans each spring. During the past three decades, charity golf has raised more than $10 million for patients, programs and services at UNC Health. For more information, including details on how to volunteer and reserve tickets, visit unchealthchampionship.com/.
ABOUT THE KORN FERRY TOUR
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Korn Ferry Tour identifies and develops golf’s next stars, preparing them to compete and win on the game’s biggest stage. The Korn Ferry Tour, which has served as a path to the PGA TOUR since its inception, will award 30 PGA TOUR cards based off its points list in 2023, with the No. 1 player earning exemptions into the following year’s PLAYERS Championship and U.S. Open. With more than 600 PGA TOUR titles, 28 major championships and six FedExCup champions, Korn Ferry Tour alumni make up 88 percent of the PGA TOUR’s current membership. To learn more about the PGA TOUR, the Korn Ferry Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM or follow the Korn Ferry Tour on social media. Six Korn Ferry Tour events are televised annually on GOLF Channel in the United States, with tournament programming also available via 22 linear TV partners in 170-plus countries and territories. Over 70 hours of live coverage is available in 130-plus countries and territories. Programming is also available via the OTT platform GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR in every market outside of the United States (185-plus countries and territories), excluding Australia, China, Korea and Russia.