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Principal Charity Classic a Hole-in-One for Des Moines’ Economy

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Principal Charity Classic continues Thursday at the Wakonda Country Club in Des Moines.

The event is in its 16th year and it’s bringing out a lot of fans this year, including some new faces on the green, like Miguel Angel Jimenez.

“The golf course is very nice, an old-fashioned golf course,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez made his Principal Charity Classic debut this week. He's known as the most interesting man in golf for his unique warm-up routine, his love of cigars and his signature ponytail.

The tournament proves to be great for the city. Principal Financial is celebrating its 10th year sponsoring the event. When the company took over the tournament, it focused on raising money for Iowa children's charities.

In the last nine years, more than $7.7 million has been raised. Last year's estimated economic impact alone was $23 million.

Tournament Director Greg Conrad says he expects this year to be even bigger.

“We want to put on a premier event, but we also want to drive economic impact to the restaurants, to the hotels, to the gas stations, to the shopping areas. We just sent out a group of wives of the players to go shopping in the East Village, so all those things work into the economic impact,” Conrad said.

Conrad said the tournament is designed to bring people together, whether you like the game of golf or not.

Tickets start as low as $20. Military members and their dependents and anyone under the age of 15 gets in for free.

Last year, a new attendance record was set with more than 77,000 people.

The tournament runs through Sunday.