Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
HP Byron Nelson Championship at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas opened with a woman receiving the Byron Nelson prize for the first time ever.
Golf legend Nancy Lopez became the first female recipient of the philanthropic Byron Nelson Prize this week.
Lopez has been working with AIM, a nonprofit organization helping handicapped children and their families since 1981. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas gave $100,000 to the charity in Lopez's honor, filling her eyes with tears of gratitude during the tournament's opening ceremony Monday.
Visitors at the TPC Four Seasons said the ceremony started the tournament on the right foot.
"She [Lopez] touched my heart, and I just think she is a really sweet person. Not only is she a good golfer, she is really deserving of that, I think," said Buzz Moody, Irving resident.
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas is the sole recipient of the fundraising from the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
"Many of our families are living in poverty and a big group of our families are struggling with difficulties dealing with trauma, depression, abuse, anxiety," said the group's spokesperson, Michelle Kinder.
Kinder said the point of the weeklong tournament was to raise money to help more than 7,000 families served by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas.
Hundreds of volunteers donate their time to the cause every year.
Pat Stom, a Farmers Branch resident, has been taking vacation days to help out at the course. He said this was his 18th year and he was scoping out the 18th hole where he will be spending the rest of the week.
"I was just checking it out. Checking out the view from the patrons where I can't afford to be," he said as he laughed.
Volunteers said enjoying golf is part of the experience, but knowing it's helping others makes their efforts more fulfilling.
The 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship began Monday and will be played through Sunday at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas.