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Amateur Winner Selected for 2010 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge
Golf Digest, along with the United States Golf Association and NBC Sports, announced that Peggy Ference of Skillman, N.J., is the winner of the nationwide contest to play with three celebrities in the 2010 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge. Ference will attempt to become the first contest winner to break 100 on a U.S. Open setup when the group plays Pebble Beach Golf Links a few days before the 2010 U.S. Open.
Ference, whose current USGA Handicap Index is 4.9, will play the 18-hole round from the U.S. Open tees (7,040 yards), under the same conditions that U.S. Open contestants will face and with a USGA official calling the rules. Joining her will be New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees (3 handicap), NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky (10) and actor and producer Mark Wahlberg (14). The round will be recorded and air on NBC from 1:30-3:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 20, immediately prior to the network's final-round broadcast of the U.S. Open.
In the December 2009 issue, Golf Digest asked readers to describe in an essay of no more than 60 words how playing in the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Pebble Beach would significantly change their lives. Ference wrote about playing at Pebble as a 10-year-old and outdriving her dad for the first time during that vacation. She also wrote about being unemployed for the past two years and how she hoped that being the first woman to play in the Challenge might somehow lead to a job (she was recently hired as a regional business director for a biopharmaceutical company).
Ference was selected as one of five finalists from the 24,860 entries that were submitted. She received more than 37% of the votes cast during the 31 days of online voting between March 31 and April 30.