Myrtle Beach, SC Feb. 26, 2013 – A week after kicking off the 2013 season in Tallahassee, Fla., last week, the next generation of PGA TOUR stars will move a few hours to the north for the playing of the inaugural Spring Hill Classic at Spring Hill Country Club in Tifton, Ga.
Known for attracting the top fields this side of the Web.com and PGA Tours, the NGA TOUR will bring a gaggle of über-talented golfers to the pristine 18-hole layout, all hoping to take the bulk of the $200,000 purse.
After earning his first NGA TOUR victory at Killearn Country Club last week, Clayton Rask will be riding a wave of momentum into the Spring Hill Classic. With his $28,000 payday at Killearn, Rask took the early lead in the money standings. If he can stay atop the standings at midseason, the former Minnesota Golden Gopher will earn an event exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Reno-Tahoe Open.
“I try not to focus on it too much, but that is one of my goals,” said Rask, of Otsego, Minn. “I took some time off before the season and didn’t touch a club for about a month and a half. I felt refreshed to the start the season and I played well. Hopefully, I can keep it up for the rest of the season.”
There will be plenty of players in the Spring Hill Classic capable of breaking Rask’s stranglehold on the money list. This week’s event will feature a 168-player field filled with a slew of NGA TOUR winners, former PGA and Web.com Tour players and dozens of collegiate All-Americans.
After winning a tour-high three times in 2012, David Skinns of Lincoln, England, started out the 2013 season with a T12 finish last week and will be one of the favorites in the Spring Hill Classic. The former University of Tennessee All-American has finished inside the top 15 in 10 of his last 12 starts on the NGA TOUR Pro Series. Skinns, a former NGA TOUR Player of the Year and Suwanee, Ga. resident, also made six of eight cuts on the Web.com Tour last season.
Jeff Corr, a 2012 Web.com Tour member, is another veteran player that is expected to contend for the win 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. Like Skinns, Corr of Longwood, Fla., has finished inside the top 15 in 10 of his last 12 starts on the NGA TOUR, including a T5 finish last week.
Rookie Hunter Hamrick, a former University of Alabama All-American, lived up to his billing in the season-opener at Killearn, finishing T9, and will be looking to continue his stellar play this week. 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.
Fellow rookie Kelly Kraft, the 2011 U.S. Amateur champion, is another player expected to be near the top of the leaderboard this week. Kraft, a former Southern Methodist University All-American from Dallas, finished T18 in his NGA TOUR debut last week. In addition to competing on the NGA TOUR this season, 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.
Trent Whitekiller of Sallisaw, Okla., returns to action this week after posting a second-place finish at Killearn in his NGA TOUR debut. The former Oklahoma State alumnus has yet to make a bogey on the NGA TOUR. James Vargas, a former University of Florida standout from Miami, and Texan Zack Fisher finished T3 last week and are in the field for the second event of the NGA TOUR season.
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: 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; Major Manning, a former Web.com Tour member; Nick Rousey, a former All-American at Alabama and 2013 Web.com Tour member; Jack Newman, the 2008 U.S. Public Links champion; and multi-time NGA TOUR winner Mark Blakefield.
There will also be a large contingent of Georgia golfers hoping to keep the $28,000 winner’s check in state. David Denham (St. Simons Island), Wade Holland (Fayetteville), Jon David Kennedy (Hawkinsville), Jay McLuen (Athens), Brett Munson (Evans), Greg Newberry (Lawrenceville) and Gator Todd (St. Simons Island) will all be in the field this week.
The first round of the Spring Hill Classic is scheduled to start on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 a.m. As always, admission is free to the public.
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.