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Arkansas Holds Good Karma For Winners

04 Rheem ClassicThe Nationwide Tour hangs around the state of Arkansas for the second consecutive week with the playing of the Rheem Classic at the Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith.
Officially known as The Natural State, Arkansas is known throughout the country for its natural beauty, clear lakes and streams and abundance of wildlife.
Now you can add to that list the state's penchant for having its Nationwide Tour tournament winners go on to some serious PGA Tour success.
Case's in point: Zach Johnson and Ted Purdy.
Johnson, a PGA Tour rookie this season, won the Rheem Classic last year en route to earning the tour's Player of the Year honors. His playoff victory eventually vaulted the 28-year-old to yet another tour win and to the top of the season-ending money list.
Purdy, who won the 2003 First Tee Arkansas Classic - which was held a week prior to the Rheem Classic - also parlayed his victory into a spot on the PGA Tour this year.
And just like Johnson, Purdy quickly struck pay dirt on the big tour. Despite his heart-breaking playoff loss to Stewart Cink at the MCI Heritage Classic, the rookie still earned a whopping $518,400.
Johnson won $810,000 for his victory at the BellSouth Classic earlier in the month.
What a difference a year makes.
Daniel Chopra, who won last week's First Tee Arkansas Classic, will head back to the PGA Tour for this week's Shell Houston Open, leaving the regular Nationwide Tour members a better chance at getting into the winners' circle.
Jimmy Walker will again try to notch win No. 3 on the season in his effort to reach the PGA Tour. Already with victories at the season-opening BellSouth Panama Championship and the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, Walker had a respectable tie for 16th finish this past week.
Any player reaching three wins in a season gets the coveted Battlefield Promotion, in which a player is awarded immediate membership onto the PGA Tour. The last player to accomplish the feat was Tom Carter in 2003. It was the sixth time in the tour's history that the award was given out.
The field will be playing not only for the Arkansas karma but also for a purse of $475,000, with $85,000 going to the winner.
The tour will head to South Carolina next week for the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Rheem Classic