VERNON, N.Y. (WKTV) - An extraordinary performance led Team International to claim the 2014 Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge title over a competitive field of world-class PGA TOUR golfers at Turning Stone Resort Casino’s Atunyote Golf Club Wednesday. Louis Oosthuizen and Angel Cabrera teamed up with Jonas Blixt and Jhonattan Vegas, carding a 20-under par, two shots clear of the runner-up in the combined best ball tournament. The true champions of the event are the children who will benefit from the funds raised by the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F) in support of its mission to improve the health and wellness of Native American communities.
“Once again, this event has been a truly impressive display of how passion and collaboration can help the Foundation educate the public and raise funds to combat the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics facing Indian Country,” said the NB3 Challenge host, four-time PGA TOUR winner and NBC Sports/Golf Channel Analyst Notah Begay III. “My sincerest gratitude goes out to all the talented athletes, the golf fans of Central New York, and our friends and partners – the Oneida Indian Nation.”
Oosthuizen and Cabrera controlled their match with a score of 11-under, ultimately leading Team International to outpace Team USA comprised of Erik Compton, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker and Begay. Enthusiastic Central New York golf fans lined the ropes to cheer on the eight elite golfers, who represent five countries and a combined 17 PGA TOUR wins including three Major titles.
“While I’m incredibly grateful to my teammates for helping earn us the trophy today, I’m also extremely humbled by the opportunity to use my talents to help elevate the needs of Native American children,” said Oosthuizen, representing the winning team. “Childhood obesity is a national health crisis and Native American children have the highest prevalence of any population in the U.S. – a startling reality. Thanks to Notah, my teammates and all the players for helping bring this issue to light, and to the Notah Begay III Foundation for creating solutions to reverse this statistic.”
The largest fundraising event of its kind in Indian Country, the real impact of the NB3 Challenge happens off the course. All proceeds help NB3F advance its mission of reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes and supporting leadership development among Native American children. Over the past six years, with the help of many elite golfers, passionate fans and strong partners, the event has raised more than $5 million. Turning Stone Resort Casino, which hosts the tournament, is an economic enterprise of the Oneida Indian Nation, and has provided generous support to NB3F for many years.
“Today is a shining example of how Notah and his Foundation can build a bridge connecting Indian Country with the key supporters and resources necessary to better the lives of our children,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “We’re extremely proud to call this year’s Challenge another success, knowing that the funds raised will help impact the health and wellness of our future generations of Native Americans.”
This year’s tournament marks a notable transformation in the core work of NB3F, as it moves from running programs to its current focus of empowering Indian Country to drive solutions in its own communities through a model of strategic grant making, research and advocacy. This shift began one year ago at the 2013 NB3 Challenge with the launch of Native Strong: Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures, a national initiative that since has provided seed money to 20 tribal communities across seven states. The funds generated and partnerships strengthened at the 2014 event will allow NB3F to continue to expand and help Native communities lead the fight against the public health crisis facing its children.