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The Nationwide Tour rolls into the heartland of America for the 16th edition of the Preferred Health Systems Witchita Open.


Knoxville Open, Price Cutter Championship and Boise Open have been on the schedule since the tour began in 1990. U.S. Ryder Cup captian Tom Lehman was the events first winner.

Bradley Hughes birdied the first hole of a playoff on Sunday to capture the Wichita Open for his first career victory on the Nationwide Tour. Hughes used an eagle at the last in regulation to complete a round of 65 and join Hunter Haas, Erik Compton and Scott Harrington in a tie for first at 14-under-par 270.

The event will be played for the fourth straight year at the 6,913-yard par-72 Crestview Country Club.


Jeff Klauk returns to Crestview Country Club looking to become the first player in Nationwide Tour history to successfully defend a title.

Klauk, who won the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open presented by Cox Communications last year, might just be the first man to break through and hold onto a tournament title for more than a year. In addition to his victory in 2003, he tied for second in 2002, just one stroke behind winner Tyler Williamson.
Klauk is currently 39th on the money list with $74,011 and needs some strong finishes in the final months of the season to move into the top 20 and earn a spot on the PGA TOUR for 2005.
He'll be challenged this week by two-time winners D.A. Points and Jimmy Walker, both of whom are just one victory away from an immediate promotion to the PGA TOUR.
Former winners Williamson and Ben Bates (1997), who has played very well recently earning a victory at The Reese's Cup Classic four weeks ago, will both be competing this week in one of the four original Nationwide Tour stops still in operation. The 16th annual event will offer a purse of $475,000 with the winner taking home $85,500.

Klauk is currently 39th on the Nationwide Tour money list
The field also includes other 2004 winners like Chris Anderson, Justin Bolli, Gavin Coles, Hunter Haas and Ryuji Imada, along with several former PGA TOUR winners.
Two players who have not won this year, but have been in top form recently and might break through to the winner's circle, are Dave Christensen and Darron Stiles. Christensen enters with three consecutive top-10 finishes to his credit, including a share of second last week in Canada, while Stiles has four top-10 outings in his last six starts.
After this week's tournament in Kansas the Nationwide Tour will make two more stops in the nation's Heartland, visiting Omaha, Neb. and Springfield, Mo. in the following two weeks before heading north again to Canada for the Alberta Classic.
Next week the Nationwide Tour travels north into Nebraska for the Cox Classic in Omaha.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Witchita Open