BMW Hole-In-One Scholarship awarded to Illini Scholar

During the telecast of last week's 2013 BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill., NBC aired a segment profiling Illinois Evans Scholar Mark Abtahi of Niles, Ill.

Watch the video below:

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – July 13, 2013… BMW today announced that Mark Abtahi of Niles, Ill., was named the recipient of the BMW Hole-In-One Scholarship, a full four-year tuition and housing grant for deserving young caddies. The Scholarship was awarded thanks to Steve Stricker’s perfect shot on the par 3 sixth hole at the 2012 BMW Championship, at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.  A caddie at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Ill., Abtahi will enter his freshman year at the University of Illinois this fall.

The BMW Hole-In-One scholarship provides a four-year Evans Scholarship in honor of any player to score the first hole-in-one, on any hole during the BMW Championship.  Named Tournament of the Year by the PGA TOUR in 2012, the BMW Championship is the penultimate event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs.

All proceeds from the BMW Championship benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation, the nation’s largest privately funded college scholarship program providing students full university tuition and housing grants. Since BMW became a presenting sponsor of the tournament in 2007, the BMW Championship has raised over $14 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation.

Abtahi was at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., to meet Stricker and was presented with an autographed pin flag from the 2012 BMW Championship.

“Thanks to BMW and the Evans Scholars Foundation, I will be able to follow my dream of earning a degree in engineering,” said Abtahi. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope this will enable me to continue on the path of success.”

“BMW is pleased to award Mark Abtahi a four-year scholarship to the University of Illinois to help him achieve his dreams and education goals,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO of BMW North America.  “It is an honor working with the Evans Scholars Foundation to support a program that impacts the lives of exceptional young people, such as Mark and other Evans Scholars like him.”

Abtahi attended Maine South High School where he graduated this past May with a 3.4 GPA.  In addition to earning a spot on his high school’s high honor roll, he was named AP Scholar of the Month and has twice received the Model United National Social Science Award.  Outside of the classroom, Abtahi volunteers at Resurrection Hospital, and is an avid football and tennis fan.

“This commitment to send a caddie to college through the BMW Hole-in-One Scholarship is one of many ways BMW has shown its ongoing support for the Evans Scholars Foundation,” said John Kaczkowski, President and CEO of the Western Golf Association, which sponsors the Evans Scholarships. “We greatly appreciate all they have done, and continue to do, for our caddie scholarship program.”

BMW couples its support for the BMW Championship and the Evans Scholars Foundation with a summer internship program that invites Evan Scholars to work for BMW.  The work/study program offers the students invaluable insight into their future careers after graduation. This summer, Evans Scholar, Mary Kate McGovern [Marquette University], joined BMW of North America as a marketing intern in BMW’s Central Region Office in Schaumburg, IL.

Created in 1930, the Evans Scholars Foundation started with two Northwestern University students and today is managed by the Western Golf Association. To date, the foundation has offered more than 10,500 college scholarships to golf caddies.  During the 2013-2014 academic school year, 840 caddies will be enrolled in college, receiving tuition and housing benefits, totaling more than $12 million.