The grand finale of the Els for Autism Golf Challenge took place in Las Vegas at the weekend with Greg Powell and Wheeler Sample from Sugar Loaf Golf Club winning the event.

The inaugural event, which was hosted at TPC Summerlin, Cascata and Rio Secco golf clubs, was raising money to help improve the lives of thousands of children and their families dealing with autism.

The charity event, which is now the largest charity-driven, amateur golf tournament in US history is close to Els’ heart as his youngest son, Ben, suffers from autism.

Teams of golfers qualified for the finale by being the low net winning team or the highest fundraising team at one of the 30 regional events across the US that were played between May and September.

A team who raised over $10,000 automatically qualified for the event and stayed at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Vegas and attended parties hosted by Ernie and Liezl Els.

The event saw over 1,700 people participate and finalists also had the chance to play in a bonus four-hole Pro-Am Shoot Out with Els and some of his PGA TOUR friends.

Els said: “With your help, the 2011 Golf Challenge proved a massive success. A total of $1.7 million was raised thanks to more than 8,500 donors.

“Thank you to all the players, donors and sponsors who took part in the 2011 Golf Challenge.”