South Whitehall Township-based Computer Aid Inc. has contributed the $100,000 purse to the 2017 Pennsylvania Women's Open, which will be larger than the men's counterpart for the first time in the history of this event.
The women’s open, which is being revived after 22 years, will be held May 24-27 at Valley Country Club, in Sugarloaf, outside Hazleton, in Luzerne County. By comparison, the purse is more than double the $40,000 the Pennsylvania Men’s Open will offer later this spring, said Matthew Deibart, chairman of the Pennsylvania Women’s Open.
More than 60 players from 17 countries and 16 states will be competing for the $100,000 purse at the Women’s Open, which typically are in the five-figure range in state opens.
Tony Salvaggio, president and CEO of Computer Aid, told Lehigh Valley Business this morning that it is the first time he has sponsored a golf tournament.
Salvaggio, a Hazleton native, bought the once struggling Valley Country Club in 2016. He said Kate Scarpetta, a pro on the Symetra Tour, came up with the idea to host the tournament to help revitalize the course. She also is the general manager of the tournament.
It is extremely rare for any women’s golf event to have a bigger prize pool than its men’s counterpart.
Salvaggio, though, wanted to sponsor a prize for women that was commensurate with what men earn.
“We wanted to draw a line in the sand as it relates to women players and women’s tournaments being on parity with male tournaments,” Salvaggio said.
“The reality is we wanted to do a great tournament. We wanted to attract the very best women players we could.”
The tournament will promote Geisinger’s Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute.
Computer Aid has nearly 80 employees on the autism spectrum, Salvaggio said, whose company has an autism initiative program.
“We found a real niche for many with autism spectrum in the computer technology field,” he said.