Top names set for season opener
Myrtle Beach, SC Feb. 19, 2013 – February 19, 2013 – If you ask any member to list the reasons they play on the NGA TOUR, you’ll likely hear “to play against the best competition out there” near the top of motives.
Those wishing to test themselves will have plenty of chances this week as a gaggle of the top golfers in the world descend on Killearn Country Club for the playing of the season-opening Killearn Country Club Classic in Tallahassee, Fla.
After cruising to a six-stroke win in the 2012 Killearn Country Club Classic, Tyson Alexander, a former University of Florida golfer from Gainesville, Fla., will return to defend his title this season. Alexander, the son of UF golf coach Buddy Alexander, carded rounds of 69-65-68-68 for an 18-under 270 total in hostile territory to claim his first NGA TOUR victory.
“Winning on the NGA TOUR let me know that I could do it,” said Alexander. “I played on the NGA TOUR in 2011 and I realized how good the players were on the Tour and how tough it was to win out here. It was a big accomplishment. I thought I could do it, but until you do it, you don’t know for sure. The win proved to me that I belonged.”
Several Florida State University golfers will try to keep Alexander from doing it again in 2013 and keep the title from leaving town.
Former Florida State golfers Matt Savage, Kyle Cobb, Wesley Graham and Seath Lauer will join nearly 200 of the best up-and-coming golfers in the NGA Tour’s Killearn Country Club Classic, hoping to take the lion’s share of the $200,000 guaranteed purse put up by the No. 3 men’s golf tour in the country.
Savage of Louisville, Ky., joined the NGA Tour in 2009 after a standout collegiate career at FSU, where he was named All-American. As a Seminole, Savage was the first player in school history to earn All-ACC honors three times and set the school record for low round score when he shot a 9-under 63 in the 2009 Florida State Spring Break Invitational. Savage finished 10th in the inaugural Killearn Country Club Classic and is now the assistant golf coach to Trey Jones at Florida State.
Lauer, the 2009-10 team captain at FSU, was a four-year letterman at Florida State and helped lead the team to a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Championship. In addition, the Huntington, Ind., golfer was part of the 2008 ACC Championship team, which won seven tournaments.
Graham helped the Seminoles to four NCAA Regional Championships and two NCAA Championship Finals appearances and into the national rankings during each of the four years of his career. Graham also won his second event as a pro on the NGA TOUR Carolina Series last year.
Cobb was a member of three NCAA Championship teams at Florida State and helped the Seminoles to a third place finish at the NCAA Championship finals in 2010. Cobb will be making his first start on the NGA TOUR Pro Series this week.
Despite the friendly confines, the Seminoles will have to be on top of their game to come out on top of a field filled with the future stars of golf. The Killearn Country Club Classic will feature a horde of NGA TOUR winners, former PGA and Web.com Tour players and dozens of collegiate All-Americans, who are all trying to use the event as a springboard to the PGA Tour like 2011 Killearn Country Club Classic winner Ted Potter Jr. did.
In the inaugural event, Potter Jr. dismantled the course and the field. The Ocala golfer finished with a 25-under 263 total and won by seven shots over Lee Williams. Fueled by the Killearn victory, Potter would go on to win twice on the Nationwide Tour in 2011 to earn his 2012 PGA TOUR card and picked up his first PGA TOUR victory in 2012. After finishing second, Williams played on the Web.com Tour in 2012 and earned his 2013 PGA TOUR card.
There are plenty of golfers in this year’s field capable of following the talented duo’s path to the top tour.
After winning a tour-high three times in 2012, David Skinns of Lincoln, England, will be one golfer everybody will have on their mind this week. The former University of Tennessee All-American made 11 of 11 cuts last year on the NGA TOUR, picked up seven top-10 finishes and earned over $100,000. Skinns, who finished third at Killearn last season, also made six of eight cuts on the Web.com Tour last season.
Blayne Barber of Lake City, Fla., is also on everybody’s radar this week. After graduating from Auburn in 2012, Barber made some noise late last season on the NGA TOUR, where he won four events in his first nine starts on tour. The former All-American seems to have carried the momentum into 2013, too. Last week, Barber Monday qualified for the PGA TOUR’s Northern Trust Open hovered around the top 25 for much of the event before finishing T42.
Jeff Corr, the 2012 Killearn Country Club Classic runner-up, is another player that should make his presence known this week. The Jacksonville State alum is a four-time NGA TOUR Pro Series winner and two-time victor on the Bridgestone Winter Series this season. Corr, a 2012 Web.com Tour member, has earned over $650,000 on the NGA TOUR.
Hunter Hamrick will be a rookie on the NGA TOUR in 2013, but the former University of Alabama team captain is already on his way to becoming a household name. Hamrick, who helped the Crimson Tide to a No. 1 ranking in 2012, competed in five PGA TOUR events last season, including the U.S. Open where he finished T46. Hamrick also posted a T10 finish in the True South Classic on his way to earning over $115,000 on the PGA TOUR in 2012. The Killearn Country Club Classic will be Hamrick’s third start on the NGA TOUR Pro Series.
Kelly Kraft, the 2011 U.S. Amateur champion, is another rookie that is expected to turn some heads this week. Kraft, a former Southern Methodist University All-American, will be making his first NGA TOUR start this week, but the former All-Nicklaus selection’s time on the No. 1 developmental tour may be brief. Kraft, who made the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, is scheduled to play in at least seven PGA TOUR events this season on sponsor exemptions.
This week’s field will also include 2012 NGA Pro Series winners Rick Cochran, the nephew of PGA winner Russ Cochran and a Middle Tennessee State alumnus; Jonathan Randolph, a 2010 All-Nicklaus team member and All-American selection from Ole Miss; Ken Looper, a former LSU standout; Chas Narramore, a former Middle Tennessee State stalwart; Jay Woodson, a former James Madison University linkster; Anthony Broussard, a former University of North Texas golfer; and Travis Woolf, a former Texas Christian golfer.
Others notable participants include: Jon Curran, who won the 2013 Members Only Shootout; Stuart Anderson, a 2012 Web.com Tour member; T.J. Bordeaux, a BWS winner and four-time Big West All-Conference selection at the University of Pacific; Jesse Hutchins, a former NGA TOUR winner; Major Manning, a former Web.com Tour member; Nick Rousey, a former All-American at Alabama and 2013 Web.com Tour member; Josh Broadaway, a former NGA TOUR winner and 2012 Web.com Tour member; Jack Newman, the 2008 U.S. Public Links champion; and multi-time NGA TOUR winner James Vargas, a former University of Florida standout.
The first round of the Killearn Country Club Classic is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. As always, admission is free to the public.
Since its opening, Killearn Country Club has played host to an astounding 21 PGA and four LPGA Tour events, including the Tallahassee Open, Tallahassee Open Invitational and, most recently, the Centel Classic.
The Killearn Country Club course features Bermuda fairways, Tifdwarf greens, and a wide variety of challenges. With its large lake, rolling hills and tree-lined fairways, Killearn Country Club offers a little something for everyone. And so does the city of Tallahassee.
One of Florida’s most prominent college cities, Tallahassee is home to several colleges and universities, most notably the Florida State University Seminoles. In 2007, Tallahassee was named as one of the “Top 10 College Towns for Grownups,” finishing second only to the University of North Carolina. But the college atmosphere and beautiful scenery aren’t the only things synonymous with Tallahassee. Killearn Country Club’s long standing tradition as one of the premier resort destinations in the country is just as well known to those familiar with Tallahassee.
In addition to a pristine 27-hole championship layout and its proximity to the budding Tallahassee social scene, Killearn also features onsite luxury villas, a full-service hotel, a dining room, grill and locker rooms, as well as a Junior Olympic-size swimming pool, fitness facility and eight tennis courts. There is something for everyone whether you are a member, spectator, volunteer, casual golfer, or professional.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Web.com Tours and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Web.com Tour Professionals.
The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro, Web.com, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink; 2009 U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open Champion Ben Curtis; two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA Champion John Daly; British Open Champion Tom Lehman; PGA Champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship Winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year Michael Thompson; 2012 PGA TOUR winners Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings and Scott Piercy.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2012, the NGA TOUR became the “Official Partner of the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open” and secured one PGA TOUR and six Web.com Tour event exemptions for its members, the most in developmental golf.
For more information on the NGA or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, please visit our website at www.NGATOUR.com or contact our Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.