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Golf Channel Announces Teams for 2018 East Lake Cup Collegiate Match Play Championship, Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31

By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 28, 2018, 7:33 pm

Men: Oklahoma State, Alabama, Auburn, Duke

Women: Arizona, Alabama, Stanford, USC

 Field Includes All Eight Semifinalists From the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships, Including Reigning National Champions Oklahoma State (Men) and Arizona (Women)

 Morning Drive Interviews: Oklahoma State Men's Golf Coach Alan Bratton

Arizona Women's Golf Coach Laura Ianello

 

ORLANDO, Fla., (Aug. 28, 2018) – Today, Golf Channel announced the field for the 2018 East Lake Cup collegiate match play championship at historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Oct. 29-31. This elite field of the country’s top collegiate golf programs each earned an invitation by advancing to the semifinals of team match play at the 2018 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships in May.

“Now approaching the tournament’s fourth year, the East Lake Cup has become one of college golf’s marquee events each fall,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive producer. “This championship anchors Golf Channel’s year-round commitment to college golf and introduces viewers to golf’s future stars for both the men’s and women’s game.”

Headlined by the reigning NCAA national champions – Oklahoma State (men) and Arizona (women) – the field features the eight NCAA Golf Championship semifinalists returning to compete head-to-head. The East Lake Cup will take place Monday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-31, with live tournament coverage on Golf Channel all three days.

MEN’S DIVISION:

Oklahoma State University - Reigning NCAA national champions.

University of Alabama - NCAA national championship runners-up; 2013-14 NCAA national champions.

Auburn University - 2018 SEC conference champions; 2018 national championship semifinalists.

Duke University – 2018 NCAA national championship semifinalists.

“We are excited for our first trip to the East Lake Cup and appreciate the Golf Channel and East Lake for presenting us with such an incredible opportunity,” said Oklahoma State men’s golf coach Alan Bratton. “What a treat it is for us to be able to compete at such a historic venue."

WOMEN’S DIVISION:

University of Arizona - Reigning NCAA national champions.

University of Alabama - NCAA national championship runners-up.

Stanford University - 2015 NCAA National Champions.

University of Southern California - 2017 East Lake Cup champions.

“We are thrilled to be competing at the 2018 East Lake Cup, the most prestigious golf tournament of the fall season,” said Arizona women’s golf coach Laura Ianello. “This will be our first time playing in the event, which is an incredible honor for our program. I want to thank everyone at Golf Channel for everything they have done and continue to do in growing the collegiate game. Our experience winning the 2018 national championship was phenomenal and we’re looking forward to another opportunity to showcase our program on Golf Channel at the East Lake Cup.”

EAST LAKE CUP FORMAT:

The East Lake Cup will be contested over three days, following the format from the final three days of the NCAA men’s and women’s golf national championships. On Monday, Oct. 29, the eight teams will compete in individual stroke play competition to determine the individual champion and to seed for two days of match-play competition. Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 30-31, two match-play tournaments will be hosted simultaneously for the men’s and women’s divisions, with the semifinals taking place on Tuesday and the finals and consolation matches on Wednesday.

Teams for the East Lake Cup will compete on the championship golf course at East Lake Golf Club, home of the TOUR Championship, the season-ending event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs. The East Lake Cup benefits the East Lake Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to helping families build better lives and children reach their highest potential through its holistic approach to community revitalization incorporating mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education and community wellness. The East Lake Cup has raised nearly $1.5 million for the East Lake Foundation since its inception in 2015. Mercedes-Benz, CSX and Bridgestone Golf are sponsors for the East Lake Cup in 2018.

TOM COUSINS AWARD:

The East Lake Cup also features the Tom Cousins Award, an annual recognition presented to an outstanding male and female golfer who exemplify the values of the East Lake Foundation: excels in academics, engaged in his or her community and has overcome adversity. This award is named for Tom Cousins, founder of the East Lake Foundation, which transformed a community in despair into a thriving neighborhood, now a national model for community redevelopment through Purpose Built Communities. Divya Manthena (USC) and Will Gordon (Vanderbilt) were the recipients of the 2017 Tom Cousins Award.

Viewers and fans can stay connected with the championship on Twitter via @GolfChannel using hashtag #EastLakeCup.

ABOUT THE EAST LAKE FOUNDATION

Founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, the East Lake Foundation collaborates with public and private organizations to provide tools that enable Atlanta’s East Lake residents to build a better future through its model for community revitalization.

The East Lake model includes cradle-to-college education at Charles R. Drew Charter School and its early learning partners, mixed-income housing at The Villages of East Lake and community wellness through programs including The First Tee® of East Lake, the Resident and Community Support Program, and the Start:ME East Lake micro-entrepreneur program. This approach to building a strong community not only helps break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, but creates a place where people of all ages and incomes choose to live. East Lake has become a national model for holistic community revitalization programs through its sister organization, Purpose Built Communities. Additional information is available at www.eastlakefoundation.org.

ABOUT EAST LAKE GOLF CLUB

Located in Atlanta, the East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and is the oldest golf course in the city of Atlanta. The Club is not only historic, but philanthropic as well. Proceeds from operations support the East Lake Foundation, now serving as a national model for holistic community redevelopment across the country through Purpose Built Communities.

Over the years, the golf course has hosted many national and regional championships, including the 1950 U.S. Women's Amateur, 1963 Ryder Cup, and 2001 U.S. Men's Amateur.  It is now the permanent home of the TOUR Championship, the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.  Additional information may be found at www.eastlakegolfclub.com

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Wrongfully convicted inmate who turned to golf artistry freed

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 12:35 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.

"I love y'all," Dixon shouted after trading the green prison uniform he wore in court for jeans and a T-shirt. "It feels great."

Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon's conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.

"There was a fight. Shots were fired. I grabbed the gun from under the bench, switched it to automatic, all the bullets shot out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying," Lamarr Scott, who has been in prison for 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, told the court. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with."

Scott said he had gotten the gun, a Tec-9 semi-automatic, from Dixon and the two men had driven together to the crowded corner where the fighting broke out. Scott was given a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, concurrent with his current term.

Judge Susan Eagan let stand a count of criminal possession of a weapon against Dixon, and its 5- to 15-year sentence, which she said he had satisfied.



"You are eligible for release today," the judge said, igniting applause and shouts from courtroom supporters.

"Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters after the hearing. He described Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" at the time of the shooting and said Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

"Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of," he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case. NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his "In Play" series on Golf Channel.

Georgetown University students made a documentary as part of a prison reform course last spring. The class worked with Dixon's attorney, Donald Thompson, to have the conviction overturned.

"It went so far beyond reasonable doubt that it's pretty outrageous that he would have been convicted and it would have been upheld," said Marc Howard, director of the university's Prisons and Justice Initiative. Howard taught the course with childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who also spent years wrongfully imprisoned.

Dixon said he will keep drawing, while working on behalf of other prisoners.

"If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he said. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

His daughter, Valentina Dixon, was a baby when her father went to prison. She brought her 14-month-old twins, Ava and Levi, to court from their Columbus, Ohio, home.

"We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," she said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

Dixon's mother, Barbara Dixon, said she was in shock after relying on her faith while fighting for his release.

"We're going to Red Lobster," she said when asked what was next. "And everybody's invited."

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Thomas donating to hurricane relief at East Lake

By Jason CrookSeptember 19, 2018, 9:20 pm

Much like in years past, Justin Thomas is using his golf game to help with relief of a natural disaster.

The world No. 4 announced on Twitter Wednesday that he’d be donating $1,000 per birdie and $5,000 per eagle at the Tour Championship to a charity benefiting the victims of Hurricane Florence, which ravaged the Carolinas last week.

At a fan's suggestion, Thomas, who has averaged 4.35 birdies per round this season, also pledged to donate $10,000 for a hole-in-one.

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday just south of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and has left much of the area flooded and without power. At least 37 people have died in storm-related incidents.

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Rose realizes his No. 1 ranking is precarious

By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 8:18 pm

ATLANTA – Asked how he would like to be identified when he was finished playing golf, Justin Rose didn’t hesitate – “major champion, Olympic gold medalist, world No. 1.”

He’s had only a week to enjoy the last accomplishment, but the Englishman is aware of what it means to his career to have finally moved into the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

“It's a moment in your career that you always remember and cherish,” said Rose, who overtook Dustin Johnson with his runner-up finish two weeks ago at the BMW Championship.


Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Rose said he took some time last weekend with family and friends to relish the accomplishment and will play his first event this week at the Tour Championship as the world’s best, but he also understands how tenuous his position atop the ranking is at the moment.

“I accept it's really tight up top. It could easily switch this week,” he said. “I just feel that if I go to [No.] 2 or 3 this week, if Dustin and Brooks [Koepka] both play well, I have an opportunity the week after and British Masters, and going to China and Turkey, there's going to be opportunities to get back there.”

Johnson, Koepka and Justin Thomas could unseat Rose atop the ranking this week depending on their finishes at the Tour Championship.

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Likely ROY Wise not looking past 'special' East Lake

By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 8:05 pm

ATLANTA – Much like the PGA Tour Player of Year Award, voting for the Rookie of the Year Award is very much a rubber stamp this season.

Brooks Koepka is a lock to win the Jack Nicklaus Trophy after winning two majors - the U.S. Open and PGA Championship - despite missing a portion of the season with an injury. Similarly, Aaron Wise, who won the AT&T Byron Nelson, is the only rookie this year to advance to the Tour Championship, which is normally the threshold players use for voting for Rookie of the Year.

“I knew with the rookie class that we had it was going to be tough, and the players still have to vote but it’s definitely something that was important to me,” he said on Wednesday at East Lake. “My focus is just finishing strong this week and giving them a reason to vote for me.”


Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


For Wise, who had four top-10 finishes this season and begins the week 21st on the FedExCup point list, the chance to win the award is gratifying, but being among the best 30 players on Tour, and securing his spot in all four major championships next season, is an accomplishment worth savoring.

“To win Rookie of the Year you have to have a solid season, but to make it to East Lake, so many guys don’t get this far. You really have to have a special season and this is really special,” Wise said.