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Food City, Nationwide head list


A field of roughly 156 golfers is ready to descend upon Fox Den Country Club in Farragut for the 19th annual Knoxville Open Presented by Food City June 19-22.

A $500,000 purse awaits top finishers, with $90,000 going to the champion.

Play began today, Thursday, June 19, with 7:30 a.m. tee times on holes No. 1 and No. 10, as this annual Nationwide Tour stop is one of only four remaining from when this PGA “farm system” tour began in 1990.

Tee times begin at 7:30 a.m. Friday on No. 1 and No. 10, and at 8 a.m. on No. 1 Saturday and Sunday.

“We think we’ve got some positive momentum coming off the crowds we had last year,” said Matt Wright, Knoxville Open tournament director with Knox Area Golf Charities, the organization running the tournament. “I think we’ve got a good thing going again here in Knoxville.”

These Nationwide Tour pros not only are seeking a championship, but are looking to move up the latter for 2009. The top 25 Nationwide Tour money winners advance to the PGA Tour next season.

Current Nationwide Tour Money Leaders, most of whom are expected for the Knoxville Open, are led by David Mathis, Winston-Salem, N.C., followed by Jeff Klauk, Daytona Beach, Fla.; Darron Stiles, 2002 Knoxville Open champ, from St. Peters-burg, Fla.; Greg Chalmers, Sydney, Australia, and Kris Blanks, Warner Robbins, Ga.

Other top-25 money leaders, in order, are Jarrod Lyle, Greg Owen, Bryan DeCorso, Ewan Porter, Aron Price, Colt Knost, Casey Wittenberg, Roger Tam-bellini, Scott Dunlap, Brendon De Jonge, Anjun Atwal, Jeff Brehaut, Matt Weibring, Tee McCabe, Matt Every, Robert Damron, Ricky Barnes, Bill Lunde, D.J. Brigman and Gavin Coles.

Chez Reavie, 2007 Knox Open champ, has earned his PGA Tour Card.

Among other past champions, Hunter Haas is the only two-time Knoxville Open champ (2004, 2006).

Jeff Maggert won the inaugural Knox Open in 1990, followed by Frank Connor (’91), Brian Henninger (’92), Tim Conley (’93), Vick Wilk (’94), Tom Scherrer (’95), Eric Johnson (’96), Dave Rummels (’97), Robin Freeman (’98), Jeff Gove (’99), J.J. Henry (2000), Heath Slocum (2001), Vaughn Taylor (2003) and Kim Felton (2005).

Taylor and Henry were 2006 U.S. Ryder Cup Team members.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Grounds tickets are $10 per day or $25 for the entire Open.

General public parking, which is free, is located off Smith Road, about .3 mile from Kingston Pike just past Farragut Church of Christ. Shuttle buses run from parking lot to golf course every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. until one hour after tournament play ends for the day.

Spectator treats include a Coors Light Clubhouse hospitality area behind No. 16 tee. “We’re expanding on our Birdie For Thirty thing that we did last year,” Wright said of the $1 cups of beer sold for 30 minutes following each birdie on No. 16. “That was a big hit.”

Hospitality Tent fees are $50 per person, $350 for groups of 10, and include entry into Knoxville Open plus refreshments. Wild Wing Café is providing food.

The Knoxville Open moved to Fox Den in 1999, coming from Three Ridges (1995-98). Willow Creek Golf Club in Farragut was original host (1990-94).

Proceeds from Knoxville Open benefit Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, Knox Area Junior Golf Association, Partners in Sports Program and Emerald Youth Foundation.

Knox Area Golf Charities Board of Directors is headed by Jim Wakefield, chairman, along with Rocky Goode, Buck Jones (also tourney manager), Marshall Wilkins and Dr. Jack Bauguss.

Knoxville Open Championship Committee includes the above listed Board of Directors and Wright plus Capt. Ben Harkins, David Bunn, Susan Harbin, Kelly Headden, Lee Hake, Phil Mason, Gene Mathis, Rogan Oliver, Anne Redding, Terry Roberts/Shelia Roberts, Irving Rosenbloom, Donnie Summers, Russ Coughenour, Terry Turner, Richard Fore and Zach Franz.

Security is provided by Knox County Sheriff’s Office, headed by Capt. Harkins.

For more info, call 865-523-8687 or www.knoxvilleopen.com

 

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