Nationwide Tour in Panama City for lid-lifter

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PANAMA CITY, Panama ' The Nationwide Tour begins its 20th season where it normally starts every year ' outside the country at the Panama Digicel Championship.
 
With 19 of the 29 tournaments set to award winner's checks over $100,000 ' including this week's event, which is offering $108,000 ' and a record amount of $19 million set to be awarded overall, the developmental tour is showing obvious growth.
 
And it begins its new campaign with a Nationwide Tour rarity: a defending champion. Scott Dunlap will join fellow past champions Miguel Carballo (2007), Tripp Isenhour (2006) and Vance Veazey (2005) as he tries to become the first Nationwide Tour player to successfully defend a title.
 
Last year, Dunlap's 3-under 277 became the highest winning score in the tournament's five-year history. It was also the highest winning score in 2008.
 
The Nationwide Tour will take a two-week break before returning for its second event of the season, the Moonah Classic in Australia. Aussie Ewan Porter won the tournament last year.
 

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