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Nationwide Tour Flies into Windy City Area

Nationwide TourGLENVIEW, Ill. -- The Nationwide Tour flies to the windy city this week to tee it up in the seventh annual Bank of America Open. While no first-round leader has ever won the event, all previous winners of the Bank of America Open have gone on to earn their PGA TOUR card via 'The 25'. Hosted at The Glen Club every year but the first, the Bank of America Open is the only PGA TOUR-sanctioned event that will be played in Chicagoland in 2008.
The Glen Club, which changed from a par-71 to a par-72 last year, rests 22 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago. The Chicago area is rich in golf tradition dating back to the turn of the last century and the formation of Chicago Golf Club, the oldest 18-hole course in the United States, and the Western Golf Association. There are several players in the field this week with Chicago and Illinois roots including D.A. Points (Pekin, IL), Tom Johnson (Northwestern University), Jason Enloe (Decatur, IL), Fran Quinn (Northwestern University), Gary Hallberg (Berwyn, IL) and Jess Daley (Northwestern University).
In recent weeks the Nationwide Tour money list has seen a lot of movement. Going into last weeks Melwood Prince Georges County (MD) Open, Darron Stiles led the pack with Aussies Jarrod Lyle and Greg Chalmers on his heels. At week's end, Melwood runner-up David Mathis had climbed to the top of the money chart with winner Jeff Klauk jumping from 12th to second, just ahead of Stiles.
Both Mathis and Klauk have been on their A game lately. Current money leader David Mathis ($223,679) hasnt finished outside the top-25 in his last six starts with his win in the BMW Charity Pro-Am two weeks ago the highlight of the stretch. Prior to his win in Maryland, Klauk posted four top-20 finishes in five starts.
Joining Mathis and Klauk this week are nine of the year's other ten winners. Idle last week, Stiles will be looking to reclaim the top spot which he held for two weeks. The only 2008 champion not playing this week is Chitimacha Louisiana Open winner Gavin Coles of Australia.
The Nationwide Tour and its competition to finish among 'The 25' has the Chicago golf stage to itself this year as the PGA TOUR's FedExCup Playoff event, the BMW Championship, travels to Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis for one year. It returns to Cog Hill in suburban Lemont, IL in 2009, '10 and '11. The top-25 Nationwide Tour money winners at year's end will be PGA TOUR bound in 2009.
The GOLF CHANNEL has coverage of all four rounds.
Next week is the Rex Hospital Open, where Kyle Thompson won last year.
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