Defending Champion Makes Rare Return

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A rare occurance on the Nationwide Tour at this week's Monterey Peninsula Classic (Thurs., 5:00PM ET on The Golf Channel), as 2002 champion Roland Thatcher will be on hand to defend his title at one of the four remaining events prior to the season-ending Tour Championship. Thatcher, who stands 24th on the current money list, led from start to finish last year, as he won by two shots over Aaron Baddeley.
 
Thatcher, who stands 24th on the current money list, led from start to finish last year, as he won by two shots over Aaron Baddeley. Thatcher opened with a tournament course record of 66 and equaled the 36 (138) and 54-hole (209) marks, as he posted his first career win. Thatcher finished 30th on the 2002 money list with 11 cuts made in 27 events and four top-25 finishes.
 
Once again, the golf course proved to be the big winner, as only two players broke par (Thatcher and Baddeley). For the second straight year, this course ranked as the most difficult on the Nationwide Tour last year with a scoring average of 75.421.
 
Seven of the 18 holes ranked in the top-40 of most difficult holes last year. The most difficult was the second hole with a scoring average of 4.460, ranking fifth overall on Tour.
 
The Bayonet Golf Course was part of a tract of land purchased in the 1950s by the U.S. Military to be used as a training facility named Ft.Ord. General Bob McClure constructed the oak and cypress-lined course in 1954. Bayonet was named after the 7th Infantry 'Light Fighter' Division (nicknamed the 'Bayonet Division.')
 
It has been said that General McClure was a 'left-handed' golfer with an all too common fade. The General managed to effectively reduce his handicap with a little creative architecture in the design of the Bayonet Golf Course. Holes No. 11-15, a series of sharp doglegs, widely known as 'Combat Corner' are interrupted only by a 226-yard uphill par-3.
 
Due to Bayonets initial acclaim, Fort Ord decided to expand the course and in 1964 a second 18-hole championship course was officially opened - Black Horse. The course was named in honor of the 11th Calvary Regiment (nicknamed 'Black Horse') that was stationed across the Bay at the Presidio of Monterey from 1919-1940.
 
The Nationwide Tour maintains its western residence next week for the Gila River Golf Classic at Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, Arizona, as David Branshaw defends his title.
 
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