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Els for Autism Golf Challenge Grand Finale set for Las Vegas
October 21, 2011

The Els for Autism Golf Challenge Grand Finale, hosted by Ernie Els, will take place in Las Vegas October 23rd and 24th,

The Golf Challenge, spearheaded by World of Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, consisted of 30 Super Regional events around the country at TPC and handpicked public and private courses, from May through September, with all teams competing for a place at the Grand Finale in Las Vegas.

In this unique format, a team's fundraising skill has been valued as much as their performance on the course.  Two-person teams competing in Las Vegas will have earned their place in the Grand Finale via one of three ways: low net winning team at their Super Regional event, the high fundraising team or by raising $10,000 (automatic qualification).

Teams competing at TPC Summerlin will also be competing for the chance to play in a four-hole Bonus Pro Am Shoot Out with Ernie Els and 4 of his PGA TOUR friends on Monday October 24th .  The Pro Am Shoot Out at TPC Summerlin will be open to the public and will tee off at 2:30 pm. The public is encouraged to attend the event. Admittance is free and donations to the Foundation are discretionary but welcome.

Proceeds from the Golf Challenge will go to the Els for Autism Foundation to fund a Center of Excellence. The $30 million project, the first of its kind in the world, will provide a physical and virtual hub that will reach out to the autism community across the U.S. and the world.

Ernie Els, whose 9-year old son Ben is on the autism spectrum, set up the Els for Autism Foundation in 2009 with his wife Liezl, in order to try and help other families in the same situation.

"I am overwhelmed by how much the Golf Challenge has been embraced by the golf community across the U.S. We really didn't know what to expect from our first year of the Challenge but the support we've had from the teams taking part, their donors and our sponsors has been phenomenal" Said Els. "Liezl and I really want to make a difference to kids on the Autism spectrum and their families and with this kind of collective support we know we can."

Finalists will be staying at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and will be treated to two nights of parties hosted by Ernie and Liezl Els and Organizing Sponsor SAP, as well as tournament golf at one of three of the areas best courses: TPC Summerlin, Cascata Golf Club and Rio Secco Golf Club.

Over 1,700 people have taken part in 2011 Golf Challenge with a total of $1.7 million raised thanks to some 8,500 donors. Over fifty teams have qualified via the $10,000+ route and the team at the top of the Donation Leaderboard has raised an impressive $50,000+.

Organizing Sponsors for the Els for Autism Golf Challenge include SAP, Callaway, RBC and Wine Spectator. These companies have been absolutely critical in the delivery of this innovative series of fundraising events.

The Challenge's highly valued Contributing Sponsors include Mantis, Preferred Golf, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, IRISH LINKS, Preferred Safaris and Adventures, TPC, South African Airways, Service Central, Nexterra, Expand A Sign, Ralph Lauren, Ketel One Vodka, Maverick Aviation Group, I-ONICS and Vitamin Water.

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