What's on Tap

What's on Tap

The SAS Championship has a 5K, food truck rodeo, health fair and more

Posted October 7

Photo credit: Gabe Roux

— The SAS Championship, a seven-day golf tournament that brings some of the top golfers in the world to the Triangle, is coming up Oct. 11-16.

The event, which is aired on the Golf Channel and features golfers from the PGA Champions Tour, treats golfers and golf-enthusiasts to a spectacular game on a beautiful course at Cary's Prestonwood Country Club, but event organizers say the tournament is about so much more than golf. They're not just talking about the over $4 million that will be raised to help educate area youth though the YMCA of the Triangle's Y Learning Program, either.

As it turns out, the SAS Championship is an event that anyone can enjoy, even if they've never set foot on a golf course. In fact, golf is just half of the event, which also features a 5K, a food truck rodeo, a family picnic, a health fair and more. I talked to Chris Vurnakes, senior tournament executive, to learn more about the festivities that surround the SAS Championship.

JP: In your opinion, which event at the SAS Championship is the most exciting?

CV: The golf! I am a big golf fan, so the players in the field are the players I know from watching golf as a kid. We have a strong field each year – though 2016 may be the best yet.

JP: What's new at the event this year?

CV: I’m glad you asked! For a 16-year-old tournament, we have a lot of new things.

We are playing a different set of 18 holes at Prestonwood. This has caused a lot of interest from the professional players to come earlier and play the new holes before the tournament. We had our media day on Monday, and the response from the players was all great.

The SAS Championship has moved back a week on the tour schedule and is now part of "Wild Card Weekend" – the week before the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs. Essentially, anyone who is not already qualified for the playoffs and finishes in the top 10 of the SAS Championship qualifies for the playoffs regardless of previous status. It’s also the last week for players to earn points to qualify in the top 72. If multiple people outside the top 72 finish in the top 10, the player who finishes highest gets the automatic spot.

JP: If people want to just watch the golfing, do they have to pay to get in?

CV: A daily ticket costs $20. Children under age 17 are free with a ticketed adult.

JP: You don't have to pay for many of the other events at the SAS Championship. Tell me about the free festivities people can enjoy at the event.

CV: Yes, we have a food truck rodeo and a three-day health fair that are both open and free to the public. There's also the PNC Family Challenge Clinic on Saturday.

JP: There's also a 5K walk/run that takes participants through the golf course!

CV: Yes, it’s the only 5K we’re aware of that uses the golf course as a running track the day of the tournament. We also do a corporate challenge to engage local companies and their employees. SAS employees come out in full force to support this event. All of the proceeds of the event go to the Y Learning Program, similar to the championship.

JP: How does the SAS Championship's partnership with the Triangle Y work?

CV: The YMCA of the Triangle is the host charity for the championship. They partner with the PGA Tour to host the event, and SAS is the title sponsor. Octagon manages the event with SAS. It’s truly a "community" event. Our donation, from the proceeds of the tournament, is the largest single donation the Y Learning Program receives during as part of their campaign.

The course at the SAS Championship opens to the public on Wednesday. For more information and to see a schedule of events, visit the event website.

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