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Team UCLA prevails in Toshiba Classic’s UCLA-USC Skills Challenge

From left: John Ireland, Terry Donahue, Corey Pavin, Drew Bennett and Jim Hill.

March 13, 2014

By Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – The two schools have been fierce rivals in all sports for decades and bragging rights are just one of the spoils of victory when the two meet in any event. For the second year in succession, the Toshiba Classic hosted the UCLA-USC Skills Challenge at the Newport Beach Country Club to benefit Hoag Hospital, the tournament’s designated charity. The team representing UCLA prevailed by a score of 94-73.

Aside from the steady, good-natured banter that went on between participants, the event proved fruitful for the designated charity, the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital, the Toshiba Classic’s beneficiary for the fourth consecutive year. The center received a donation in UCLA’s name for $50,000. In addition, members of the winning team received a free television courtesy of tournament sponsor Toshiba.

“It was great to be here and see all these guys, the ex-athletes and coaches. It’s always fun,” said Fuzzy Zoeller. “The great thing about the Tour is we have an opportunity to raise a lot of money for charity and Toshiba just wrote a check for $50,000 for this charity. Perfect. The kids win and that’s what it’s all about. ”

The skills challenge consisted of each player hitting a measured drive, a chip from 120 yards, as well as a closest-to-the pin putt on the 18th hole. Points were awarded to each team after each of the three events and the team with the most aggregate points was the winner.   

The UCLA team included Champions Tour player Corey Pavin, former UCLA football coach Terry Donahue, former Bruin quarterback and Tennessee Titans’ wide receiver Drew Bennett as well as sportscasters John Ireland and Jim Hill. The USC team was comprised of former Trojan quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, former NBA coach and Trojan alumnus Paul Westphal, sportscasters Mark Willard and John Howard and the “Honorary Trojan” Champions Tour player Fuzzy Zoeller.

“It was a real honor and pleasure to be here representing USC and participating once again. The guys on both teams were great to play with and anything to do with charity and to help raise money I am all about it,” said Matt Leinart. “To be able to play with guys like Fuzzy (Zoeller) and Corey (Pavin); legends in their sport and guys that are great in golf is fun. There’s just a lot of respect there. It’s nice to see them interact with us and kind of get them out of their element when it’s not as serious and see how they are. Fuzzy is just one of the all-time greats.”

The Toshiba Classic has been one of the most successful Champions Tour events in raising money for charity. Since Hoag took over as host and operator of the tournament, the Toshiba Classic has generated more than $16 million for charity.

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