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Virginia Spring Board to PGA TOUR

2007 Henrico County OpenGLEN ALLEN, Va. -- This week's Nationwide Tour event, the Henrico County Open, is the only PGA TOUR-sanctioned event hosted in the state of Virginia. Success at the host Dominion Club outside Richmond has served as a springboard to the PGA TOUR as the last five Henrico County winners have graduated and gone on to enjoy good success on TOUR. The list includes Nick Flanagan, who secured a three-win PGA TOUR promotion last year, Mark Hensby, Daniel Chopra, Chad Collins and Matt Kuchar from 2002 to 2005.
The field at the $500,000 Henrico County Open has always been strong and this year is no different. Five of the Tour's seven tournament winners are in the field and already in good position to secure one of the coveted PGA TOUR cards that will be awarded to the top-25 money leaders at year's end.
Sunday's Athens (GA) Regional Foundation Classic champion Robert Damron goes for two in a row in Richmond while Australias Jarrod Lyle enjoys a comfortable lead atop the money list. Lyle has a lead of roughly $40,000 over countryman Ewan Porter, winner of the Moonah Classic in his homeland in February. In six starts, Lyle has posted four top-10 finishes including a win at the Mexico Open presented by Corona. In his other two starts he finished T15 at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship and missed the cut at the Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship. Darron Stiles and Aron Price, winners of the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship and Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship, respectively, will also be at The Dominion Club.
Virginia is the second of five straight stops that comprise the Nationwide Tour's 'southern swing', joining Athens, GA last week and Valdosta, GA, Ft. Smith, AR and Greenville, SC the next three.
This years Henrico County Open marks the 10-year anniversary of Notah Begay III becoming the first Nationwide Tour player to break 60. In 1998 Tiger Woods college teammate lit up The Dominion Club by firing a 13-under-par 59 (32-27). Begay went on to finish T6, three strokes back of winner Bob Burns, who is in the field this year. Five other players have shot 59 in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event -- Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck (1991), David Duval (1999), Jason Gore (2005) and Doug Dunakey (1998).
The Henrico County Open is the first of 13 domestic events to be televised on GOLF CHANNEL. The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic will also be televised in late June from Ontario, Canada. Play begins this Thursday and will be aired on GOLF CHANNEL all four days, beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Thursday.
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