Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Battle for Player of the Year Award Heats Up

News >> Battle For POY Award Heats Up
Nationwide Exemption, Car and Bragging Rights on the line in Augusta
Longs, SC—A free car for a year, Nationwide Tour exemption and bragging rights will be on the NGA Hooters Tour players’ minds this week in the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic at the Mount Vintage Plantation and Golf Club in North Augusta, SC.
Heading into the final two events of the season, the race for the Player of the Year honor is tightly-contested. Todd Bailey, of Spanish Fort, Ala., continues to hold a narrow lead over Philip Pettitt Jr. in the point standings. Bailey is searching for his first win of the season, but he has made the cut in all 16 events he’s entered this season.
Pettitt Jr., of Murfreesboro, Tenn., jumped into second in the standings after finishing T6 at the ComSouth Classic last week. Pettitt is also searching for his first win of the season.
Matt Harmon, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is also entered in this week’s event. Harmon already has two wins this season and has amassed a tour-leading $95,026 in winnings. In his last four starts on the NGA Hooters Tour, Harmon has finished T8 or better in three events. With a win being worth 500 points, Harmon would likely jump to the top of the standings with a series-high third win.
The winner of the Player of the Year title will receive an exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Chattanooga Classic, a free GM vehicle lease for a year, free membership into Bridgestone Winter Series and have their PGA Q-School fee reimbursed by the NGA Hooters Tour. While all the benefits are certainly noteworthy, the Nationwide Tour exemption could prove to be the Golden Ticket if the winner can mimic the path of exemption-winner Russell Knox. 
Knox earned an exemption through the NGA Hooters Tour into the Nationwide Tour’s Knoxville News Sentinel Open last week and finished T7. With his strong showing, Knox, who also has a win on the NGA Hooters Tour this season, qualified for the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic this week.
Though the top trio stands a good chance of taking POY honors, there’s a horde of heavy hitters capable of bypassing them. Billy Hurley III, Kyle Ellis, Michael Thompson, Jim Renner, Michael Welch, Ryan Henry, Michael Lavery and Patrick Nagle have all won this season, and another win would vault any of them into contention.
Over the years, a good showing in the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic has proved to be a career facilitator as well. PGA players Zach Johnson, Camillo Villegas, Kevin Streelman, Scott Piercy and Vaughn Taylor have either won or finished second in the event during their time on the NGA Hooters Tour, while Past winners Joe Affrunti (2009) and Casey Whittenberg (2007) have moved on to the Nationwide Tour.
With all the accolades up for grabs, the Mount Vintage Plantation and Golf Club in North Augusta, SC., is the perfect setting. The historic 7,107-yard, par-72 layout played host to three LGPA events over the years. The Tom Jackson-designed course will also serve as the backdrop for a bevy of military-themed events this week, starting with today’s “Service Personnel Clinic.” On Wednesday morning, the “Warrior/Pro Challenge” tees off and will be followed in the afternoon by the “Battle of the Warriors Pro-Am,” pitting pro-am teams from four different wars (WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars) in competition. “Champions Made from Adversity” is the benefiting charity.
The first round of the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic will start on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 a.m. Admission is free to the public.
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The NGA Hooters Tour is the 3rd largest men’s 72-hole professional golf tour in the country behind the PGA and Nationwide Tours and boasts an impressive list of alumni.
Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open Champion; Lucas Glover, the 2009 US Open Champion; Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters Champion; Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion; Ben Curtis, winner of the 2003 British Open; Jim Furyk, winner of the 2003 US Open; Lee Janzen, a two-time US Open winner; John Daly, a British Open and PGA Champion; Tom Lehman, winner of the British Open; David Toms, a past PGA Champion; Chad Campbell, the 2003 Tour Championship winner; Vaughn Taylor, a two-time Reno Tahoe Open winner; and Craig Perks, winner of the TPC, tested their mettle on the NGA Hooters Tour before tasting success on golf’s grandest stage.
All told, the NGA Hooters Tour’s alumni have an incredible 12 “Majors” to their credit. The NGA Hooters Tour has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA, Senior PGA, and Nationwide Tour cards. In fact, 48% of the players that earned their 2010 PGA Tour card, and 53% of the players that earned full exempt status on the Nationwide Tour started their careers on the NGA Hooters Tour.


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