Nationwide Tour Resumes Action in Arkansas

RSS

04 First Tee Arkansas ClassicFollowing a week off to allow the Masters Tournament to have the solo spotlight, the Nationwide Tour resumes action in the First Tee Arkansas Classic at the Diamante Country Club (par 72, 7,519 yards) in Hot Springs Village, Ark.
 
While in just its fourth year of existence, the event has tallied a short but solid list of champions.
 
Brett Quigley won the inaugural event in 2001. The late Jace Bugg, who died last year of leukemia, won his lone tour title the following year. And last season, Ted Purdy used a victory in this tournament to catapult his way back onto the PGA Tour.
 
Both Purdy and Quigley on competing this week in the MCI Heritage.
 
Purdy won his first Nationwide Tour event last year by first holding off fellow third-round co-leader Zach Johnson, who went on to become the 2003 player of the year, and then beating Chris Tidland on the third playoff hole.
 
This is the fifth tournament on the 2004 calendar.
 
Jimmy Walker already has two victories under his belt, having captured the season-opening BellSouth Panama Championship and the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
 
Another win this week, and he will stamp his playing passport onto the PGA Tour.
 
Three victories in a single season guarantee a player an immediate graduation onto the primary circuit.
 
This bonus procedure started in 1997, and six players have earned a 'promotion' to the PGA Tour: Chris Smith (1997), Heath Slocum (2001), Chad Campbell (2001), Pat Bates (2001), Patrick Moore (2002) and Tom Carter (2003).
 
Prior to Smith, 10 players had won three times in the same season. Sean Murphy holds the single-season record with four wins, in 1993.
 
Walker, naturally, leads the money list, with $193,756. This weeks purse is $475,000, with $85,500 going to the winner.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - First Tee Arkansas Classic