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‘New’ Knoxville Open awaits Haas, third cup bid at Fox Den

What’s new for the 2007 Knoxville Open and related festivities at Fox Den Country Club?

A special competition among Nationwide Tour members highlights pre-Knoxville Open events Sunday, June 17, through Wednesday, June 20 prior to the Open itself, June 21-24.

A Longest Drive Contest for the pros begins at 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 19, on hole No. 9.

“The pros are playing for a purse, so they’re going to take it pretty seriously,” Matt Wright, tournament director, said about the $7,500 purse, with $3,900 to the winner.

Also featured is the Coca Cola Hole-in-One Million Dollar Challenge “where some people have qualified at local courses through the area,” Wright said of the contest beginning at 5 p.m., Tuesday, on No. 18.

Each contestant will be placed 165 yards out, “and if someone makes a hole-in-one they’re going to win a million dollars. There are prizes for closest to the hole if no one makes a hole-in-one.”

Among the treats benefiting spectators will happen on No. 16 during each day of the Open.

“It’s a thing called Birdie for Thirty; if a player makes a birdie on hole number sixteen, we’re having specials on drinks whether it be beer, coke, water, whatever, for thirty minutes — we’re going to have a big countdown clock out there,” Wright said. The clock will restart to 30 minutes for each successive birdie.

The Knoxville Open parking situation is somewhat new.

All public parking each day will be located in the field off Smith Road next to Farragut Church of Christ about .3 mile from the intersection with Kingston Pike (courtesy of farragutpress).

Parking is free, with shuttle service provided, Wright said.

The Knoxville Open is one of only four remaining tour stops from the original PGA Developmental Tour [now known as Nationwide Tour], which started in 1990.

Tour-related events kick off at 3 p.m., Sunday, June 17, with a youth clinic at Fox Den. The Knoxville Open itself begins with 7:15 a.m. tee times Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22. Tee times are set between 7 and 9 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24.

Other events include the Knoxville Open Pro-Am, beginning with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Monday, June 11; and Pro-Am Classic, with 8 a.m. morning shotgun start and 1 p.m. afternoon shotgun start.

Hunter Haas, 30, the defending champ and two-time Knoxville Open winner, headlines Nationwide Tour members shooting for the $85,500 championship prize (purse is $475,000).

Also scheduled is Ricky Barnes, former U.S. Amateur champ, and Garrett Willis, former Farragut High School state champ and PGA Tour event winner.

Another new component is Knox Area Golf Charities, “the new management group running the tournament … The Boys and Girls Club [of the Tennessee Valley] is still the primary beneficiating charity,” Wright said.

To purchase tickets, call the tournament office at 865-824-1308.


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