The American Century Championship will add a U.S. Marine war hero to the 2016 competition this July. Retired Staff Sgt. Andrew Bachelder, a native of Dallas, will join the field by virtue of his victory in the George W. Bush Presidential Center Warrior Open last October.
Competing in his third Warrior Open at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, Bachelder shot even par over two days to defeat 2014 winner Army Sgt. Major Rodney Gorman and three-time champion Army Cpl. Chad Pfeifer. Both Gorman and Pfeifer have represented the Warrior Open at the ACC since American Century Investments launched the initiative to invite the winner to join the field of 90 sports and entertainment celebrities at the renowned event.
Now in its fifth year, the Warrior Open is a competitive 36-hole golf tournament, including an 18-hole pro-amateur event, featuring members of the U.S. Armed Forces who served their country honorably and have been severely wounded since Sept. 11, 2001. The tournament is a program of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative.
“The Warrior Open win means everything,” said the 34-year-old Bachelder. “The American Century Championship invitation is awesome. I’ve heard so much about it from Chad and Rod. I can’t wait to get to Lake Tahoe.”
Bachelder and his family will be guests of American Century Investments for the week, with the 54-hole nationally-televised tournament set for July 22-24 at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course on the shores of the famed alpine lake. He’ll tee it up in the company of Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Timberlake, John Elway and scores of active NFL, NBA and NHL players.
A decorated veteran of Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan, Bachelder served for more than four years as a combat engineer and another four years as a helicopter crew chief before being injured in a mid-air helicopter collision in 2009. Four of the six crewmen on board were killed and Bachelder sustained life-threatening injuries.
Those injuries included an open pelvic fracture, broken right leg and shoulder, five fractured ribs, broken back, concussion and traumatic brain injury. To this day, he copes with numerous challenges and has come back from two suicide attempts, which he attributes in part to survivor’s guilt.
“Golf saved my life,” Bachelder said. “Winning the Warrior Open was a three-year goal of mine.”
During his extensive rehabilitation, Bachelder found that golf was a great way to ease the pain of both his body and his mind. He has set his sights on becoming a head pro or a general manager at a golf course.
“We’ve been honored to host the Warrior Open champions in Lake Tahoe,” said Jonathan Thomas, president and CEO of American Century Investments. “U.S. service members unselfishly protect the freedoms we hold dear, so bringing the annual Warrior Open winner out to Tahoe for a great time with our celebrity field is American Century’s way of showing gratitude to our brave military.”
Like Pfeifer and Gorman before him, Bachelder will be cheered on by a large contingent of fellow members of the U.S. Armed Forces. For the third year, the American Century Championship is offering complimentary admission for all U.S. military.
All active duty, reservists, National Guard and veterans can receive two complimentary tickets, including one for a guest each day of the tournament. All service men and women can apply at bit.ly/ACCMilitary to redeem the special offer. Participants must show photo ID along with the ticket voucher at tournament gates for admission.
For ticket information, the latest details, photos, celebrity tweets, and fan contests visit @ACChampionship on Twitter and Instagram and facebook.com/LTCelebrityGolf. For tournament information visit www.americancenturychampionship.com.