WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. - The 19th New Jersey Evans Scholars Classic, co-branded by the New Jersey State Golf Association and the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation, took place Monday afternoon at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington Township.

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The Evans Scholars Foundation works to award full tuition and housing college scholarships to high-achieving caddies with limited financial means. Ninety-six golfers participated in the outing, while 12 Evans Scholars and several young caddies from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark worked the event.

“The people and the momentum of the program, certainly this partnership with the New Jersey State Golf Association has been a huge part of that,” said Amy Lillibridge, Senior Director of Student Success at the WGAESF. “As we continue to identify more potential New Jersey Evans Scholars, it just adds more momentum from each of the supporting clubs. That gets our alumni excited and gets the clubs excited. We are excited to continue sending more and more students to college.”

Lillibridge, a former Evans Scholar herself, helped start this event 19 years ago as a recent graduate of Miami University (Ohio) working at Heron Glen Golf Course in Ringoes. She reached out to Tom Paluck, a former Evans Scholar himself living in Bernardsville, and together, they established the New Jersey Evans Scholars Classic. The first edition was held at Heron Glen in 2002.

“We anticipate that after this year’s event, we will have raised a million dollars to support New Jersey Evans Scholars over the course of 19 years,” Lillibridge said.

Paluck, a former NJSGA president, said that being an Evans Scholar changed his life, and when Lillibridge reached out to him about starting this event, he was thrilled to help give back. “Amy Lillibridge called me with the idea, and then, the purpose of it, has transformed itself into what it is today,” Paluck said. “The idea is to give New Jersey boy and girl caddies the opportunity to win the lottery, and get in the Evans program.”

NJSGA president Eric Houseknecht was one of a handful of speakers at the banquet after the round. Former presidents Bill Freese, Frank O'Brien and Gene Benzenberg, along with vice president Mike McFadden, secretary Brian Hunt, trustees Lisa Lifer, Dan Meehan, and Director of the NJSGA Caddie Scholarship Foundation Bill King were all in attendance. The partnership between the WGAESF and the NJSGA has widened the opportunities for New Jersey caddies to receive funding for college.

“Being an Evans Scholar has been a journey,” said Evan Meyer, a rising junior at Penn State, a caddie at Hollywood Golf Club, and the honorary Evans Scholar speaker at Hawk Pointe. “I thought it was too good to be true. It’s been a great journey. The Evans Scholars is a wonderful organization that has provided me the opportunity to have financial debt relieved. I’m just so thankful, and I hope that future caddies can be just as grateful as I am.”

The Evans Scholars Foundation is currently linked to 19 schools. Caddies receive a full scholarship to the college and live with fellow Evans Scholars from across the country. The nation’s largest scholarship program for golf caddies, the Evans Scholars Foundation has awarded $435 million to date, including tuition and housing. 

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