Player Spotlight: Billy Andrade
One of the big gallery favorites at the 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club will be Rhode Island native Billy Andrade.
The long-time Atlanta resident and former Wake Forest standout enjoyed a prosperous PGA Tour career, winning four times – two of them in back-to-back weeks in 1991 – before stepping away in 2009 with more than $12 million in earnings to pursue a new career with the Golf Channel. That opportunity proved fruitful until he turned 50 and joined the PGA Tour Champions where he has thrived in his first three seasons.
Andrade, an all-state prep basketball star at Providence Country Day, has won three tournaments and $3.2 million since joining the PGA Tour Champions. He ranked fourth in money in 2015 and currently is eleventh on the 2016 money list, just shy of $1 million.
The Bristol, R.I., native has succeeded at every level of the game, starting as a Junior when he was named in 1981 the Rolex Junior Player of the Year. He was earned the prestigious Arnold Palmer Scholarship while being recruited by college golf powerhouse Wake Forest. He had a sterling collegiate record for the Demon Deacons, leading them to the 1986 NCAA championship, played on the 1987 U.S. Walker Cup team, and then turned pro the same year.
It’s been all good after that, as the aforementioned statistics and dollar signs indicate. It doesn’t work out for all when, like Andrade, a successful PGA Tour player changes gears around his 45th birthday and looks ahead to the “second chance” PGA Tour Champions. But it’s certainly worked for the 52-year-old, baby faced Andrade.
The last time Andrade played on the North Shore was during his college days, when he joined Ocean State chum Brad Faxon and were part of the Amateur team that took on the best New England PGA club professionals each August in the Colonial Cup, hosted by George and Burton Page at their Colonial Country Club in Lynnfield.
Andrade and Faxon have teamed up for many years to conduct the CVS Health Charity Classic at Rhode Island Country Club benefitting the Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon Charities for Children in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. They have raised more than $15 million by staging its annual two-day best-ball tournament featuring some of the biggest names from the PGA and LPGA Tours.
Andrade also teams with fellow Georgia resident Stewart Cink to co-host the annual East Lake Invitational which has raised more than $1.2 million for the Atlanta-area-based East Lake Foundation in a very short period of time. The funds provides the tools for families of The Villages of East Lake and students of the Drew Charter School to build a better life for themselves and future generations through education, mixed-income housing and community wellness.
Andrade has proven to be a champion not only on the golf course but in the community where he grew up and the community where he has lived most of his adult life.