NGA TOUR Expert Panel makes picks for 2013 Spring Hill Classic
Corr, Skinns, Hamrick, Kraft and Todd top picks to win
Myrtle Beach, SC – February 27, 2013 – To Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the NGA TOUR, we have assembled a Panel of Experts who specialize in the golf industry and have the experience of covering the NGA TOUR for multiple seasons. This panel of experts will make their top five selections each week for the NGA TOUR’s 18 Pro Series events this season.
Jeff Corr, the 2011 NGA TOUR Player of the Year, tops this week’s list, earning nominations on five of our experts’ boards. David Skinns, the 2008 NGA TOUR Player of the Year, Gator Todd, a 2012 Web.com Tour Member, and heralded rookie Hunter Hamrick, out of the University of Alabama, were a close second on the boards, gaining mentions by three separate experts.
Here are our experts’ picks for the upcoming Spring Hill Classic in Tifton, Ga., (February 28 – March 3), the second event of the 2013 Pro Series season:
1. ANDY MARKS has been covering golf for the Ocala Star-Banner since joining the paper as sports editor 2004. He has covered youth tournaments, city amateur championships, mini-tour events, PGA Tour stops and everything in between. He can be reached at email@example.com.
JEFF CORR (Longwood, Fla.; College: Jacksonville State) – Experienced shot-maker and all-time NGA TOUR great will set the tone early this season before taking his shot at Web.com Tour staying power.
JONATHAN RANDOLPH (Brandon, Miss.; College: Ole Miss) – It’s a matter of time before Randolph is a PGA name, and he got off to a nice ’13 start with his top-five at the Members Only Shootout.
KEN LOOPER (Mandeville, La.; College: LSU) – Another former SEC star with limitless potential, Looper won this week a year ago in Ocala. Steady hand should contend for multiple wins in his sophomore season.
DAVID SKINNS (Lincoln, England/Suwanee, Ga.; College: Tennessee) – Absolutely killed it in limited NGA schedule a year ago. A guy to watch out for every time he’s in the field.
JONATHAN BARTLETT (Vero Beach, Fla.; College: Mississippi) – Want to read a great comeback story? Look up this name. The veteran shot a second-day 63 to win a Florida mini-tour event by four strokes earlier this month and has the pedigree and determination for a stellar second life in the sport.
2. ASHLEY BROWN is the Sports Director at Beasley Broadcast Group in Augusta. He host nightly sports talk show, The Sportsline, on WGAC 95.1 FM & 580 AM. He’s also a sports columnist for the Columbia County News-Times.
HUNTER HAMRICK (Montgomery, Ala.; College: Alabama) – Played on a loaded Bama team & has played on golf’s biggest stage.
JAMES VARGAS (Miami, Fla.; College: Florida) – Proven winner, kind of a gut feeling this week.
SCOTT FEASTER (Columbia, S.C.; College: South Carolina) – Raw talent & had a good showing at the Members Only Shootout.
MAJOR MANNING (Daytona Beach, Fla.; College: Augusta State) – Veteran & former ASU standout.
KEN LOOPER (Mandeville, La.; College: LSU) – Has shown he can compete at this level – and win.
3. BRIAN STEFAN (@GolfMonger) is host of the “Myrtle Beach Golf Guys” on Sports Radio 100.3 The Team in Myrtle Beach. Co-owner and editor of Sports Monger on the Green blog site. Your home for all things golf. “I am a golf nut and try very hard to play to my 8-handicap as often as possible”.
KELLY KRAFT (Dallas, Texas; College: SMU) – Kelly has been playing well early this year. He made the cut at Pebble Beach. Many people believe that it will not be long before he is on the PGA Tour. I like his chances of winning this week.
JEFF CORR (Longwood, Fla.; College: Jacksonville State) – I like to ride momentum. Jeff is having a great showing at Killearn so I am going to take him here. It will be a short turnaround for the players so I like that hot hand.
SCOTT FEASTER (Columbia, S.C.; College: South Carolina) – Feaster is playing well coming off of a third-place finish in the Members Only Shootout. Again I like a guy who has been playing well recently. He was having a good week at Killearn also.
RICK COCHRAN III (Paducah, Ky.; College: Middle Tennessee State) – The Big Break Final 4 contestant had a good week in Tallahassee. He is a good ball striker and the pedigree should start to show soon.
HUNTER HAMRICK (Montgomery, Ala.; College: Alabama) – Star from University of Alabama. Has played in some PGA Tour events and made some cuts. He finished T10 at the True South Classic last summer.
4. GREG DEAL (@ShorelinesSC) is editor-in-chief of Shorelines Magazine in Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick, S.C. He has been a journalism professional for 22 years, covering high school, college, professional and Olympic sporting events.
DAVID SKINNS (Lincoln, England/Suwanee, Ga.; College: Tennessee) – Skinns lives in Georgia and won the NGA Tour Classic there last year. It’s safe to say he likes golfing in the friendly confines of the Peach State. His Web.com Tour experience should help him navigate Spring Hill’s narrow fairways.
JEFF CORR (Longwood, Fla.; College: Jacksonville State) – You can’t discount a former Tour player of the year who is second in career earnings and has four NGA Pro Series Tour wins. His two wins during the Winter Series of 2012 and his Web.com Tour experience have him warmed up for some big spring play.
KEN LOOPER (Mandeville, La.; College: LSU) – The 2012 co-rookie of the year is stroking the ball well again this season, and he looks primed to make a run at the championship after finishing in the top 10 in earnings last season.
GATOR TODD (St. Simons Island, Ga.; College: Alabama) – Todd lives in Georgia and is intimately familiar with the region’s golf, both as a resident and a former Southeastern Conference champion. In 17 competitive pro rounds in the fall of 2012, he played 88.6 percent of his golf at par or better – the type of accuracy that will be a blessing at Spring Hill, where greens-in-regulation statistics likely will be lower than average.
JONATHAN RANDOLPH (Brandon, Miss.; College: Ole Miss) – The other 2012 co-rookie of the year also gets a nod as a contender. Randolph has shown early signs that he is ready for a big season in 2013. Spring Hill could be where he begins a breakout sophomore campaign.
5. JESSE SMITHEY (@JesseKNS) has been covering golf for the Knoxville News Sentinel since 2006. He has covered three Masters (2006-07, 2012), a PGA Championship (2011) and the Web.com’s News Sentinel Open eight times.
HUNTER HAMRICK (Montgomery, Ala.; College: Alabama) – The former Alabama standout tied for 46th at the 2012 U.S. Open. It’s a matter of time before he joins the PGA Tour for good.
C.D. HOCKERSMITH (Dazie, Fla.; College: Ball State) – He’s slight in size and has the name of a children’s book author, but Hockersmith could be one to watch in 2013.
KELLY KRAFT (Dallas, Texas; College: SMU) – The 2011 U.S. Amateur champion recently tied for 40th at AT&T Pebble Beach.
PETER MALNATI (Dandridge, Tenn.; College: Missouri) – Malnati is an extremely talented individual. His drive and optimism match his talents. Don’t believe me? Check out petermalnati.blogspot.com
GATOR TODD (Sea Island, Ga.; College: Alabama) – Hey, University of Alabama athletes just tend to win in Georgia (see: SEC Football Championship).
6. JIM ELLIS (@mnrsportsguy) is the Sports Director for the Miami News-Record and was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall Of Fame. Jim has over 10 years of experience covering the NGA TOUR and NGA TOUR events.
DAVID SKINNS (Lincoln, England/Suwanee, Ga.; College: Tennessee) – Always been a fan of his. His past track record speaks for itself. Just a matter of time before he takes home another winner’s check. This week will be a good time for that since he’s playing in his adopted home state.
CHAS NARRAMORE (Kingston, Tenn.; College: Middle Tennessee State) – Solid finish down the stretch in 2012. Missed the cut last week, but should get things turned around.
JEFF CORR (Longwood, Fla.; College: Jacksonville State) – Keep waiting for him to make that jump.
JONATHAN FLY (Memphis, Tenn.; College: Memphis) – Struggled in the first round at Killearn, but shaved three shots off his score on Day 2. Should continue to get even better with more rounds under his belt.
TRAVIS KLUTTS (Kiowa, Texas; College: Midwestern State) – Good debut at Killearn. Has shown he knows how to play competitive golf, both on the NGA and PGA levels.
7. KEVIN FAIGLE (@kevinfaiglewrdw) has been the Sports Director for WRDW TV CBS in Augusta, Ga., for seven years having covered the Masters plus numerous NGA Tour events during this time.
GATOR TODD (Sea Island, Ga.; College: Alabama) – He comes from the ‘Bama program and is a St Simone Island guy who’s produced plenty of big time golfers. Solid Members Shootout has given him some confidence in this Georgia event
TRENT WHITEKILLER (Sallisaw, Okla.; College: Oklahoma State) – He played well in the season opener and was on the leaderboard. He’s played in pressure events with Okie State so ready to do some damage.
JEFF CORR (Longwood, Fla.; College: Jacksonville State) – With a new event on the tour, you go with a guy who has experience at winning…anywhere
MARC ETIENNE BUSSIERES (Quebec, Canada; College: South Alabama) – The former Golf Quebec Golfer of the Year had a solid opening tournament at Killearn and could be a sleeper all year long on tour.
JONATHAN BARTLETT (Vero Beach, Fla.; College: Mississippi) – Again, go with a guy who played well last week and was an All-American in college. Could be his breakout event. The 2010 West Virginia State Am Champion and Greenbrier Classic participant could be the story of the year.
|ANDY MARKS||ASHLEY BROWN||BRIAN STEFAN||GREG DEAL||JESSE SMITHEY||JIM ELLIS||KEVIN FAIGLE|
|Jeff Corr||Hunter Hamrick||Kelly Kraft||David Skinns||Hunter Hamrick||David Skinns||Gator Todd|
|Jonathan Randolph||James Vargas||Jeff Corr||Jeff Corr||C.D.Hockersmith||Chas Narramore||Trent Whitekiller|
|Ken Looper||Scott Feaster||Scott Feaster||Ken Looper||Kelly Kraft||Jeff Corr||Jeff Corr|
|David Skinns||Major Manning||Rick Cochran III||Gator Todd||Peter Malnati||Jonathan Fly||M.Etienne-Bussieres|
|Jonathan Bartlett||Ken Looper||Hunter Hamrick||Jonathan Randolph||Gator Todd||Travis Klutts||Jonathan Bartlett|