Friday, June 5, 2009

Nationwide Tour Returning to Athens in 2010 with new site: The Athens Classic at UGA will benefit need-based scholarships for UGA students

The University of Georgia and the PGA TOUR announced today that professional golf will remain in the Athens area for a fifth straight year – but with a new venue and host organization. The Nationwide Tour’s “Athens Classic at UGA” will be played at the UGA Golf Course and operated by the University’s Auxiliary Services Department. All proceeds from the event will support need-based scholarships for UGA students through the Arch Foundation.

“The University of Georgia is proud to be the host of the Athens Classic at UGA, and especially glad that the tournament will stay in the Athens area,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “This has been a great event for the community, and we look forward to teeing off next April and raising money for need-based scholarships.”

The tournament will build upon the success of the Athens Regional Foundation Classic, held from 2006-2009 at Jennings Mill Country Club. The event, which has boasted very strong community support and crowds, has showcased many UGA alumni over the years including Chip Beck, Matt Peterson, Brendon Todd, Justin Bolli, Ryan Hybl, Erik Compton, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Franklin Langham, Tommy Tolles, Tim Simpson, David Denham, Scott Parel, Kevin Kisner and the Nationwide Tour’s first million dollar earner, Paul Claxton.

Although the 2010 Nationwide Tour schedule will not be finalized until the fall, it is expected that the Athens Classic at UGA will continue to be played some time in April.

"Athens has been very supportive of the Nationwide Tour since we first came here in 2006," said Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee. "We are confident the association with the University of Georgia and its wonderful UGA Golf Course will take the Classic to new levels of impact and interest among sponsors and Bulldog fans. We look forward to many great tournaments in the future and adding to the already impressive list of UGA golfers who have played their way on to the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR. In addition, we wish to thank the Athens Regional Foundation for bringing the Nationwide Tour to Athens and the many contributions they have made to the community through the tournament the last four years.”

As the Athens Classic at UGA will be a continuation of the Athens Regional Foundation Classic, tournament records will be maintained. Patrick Sheehan won the 2009 event in a playoff over Michael Sim after both finished regulation play at 14-under par.

UGA joins only a handful of institutions of higher education to host a Nationwide Tour event since the Tour’s inception in 1990. Events have been held at Seven Oaks GC in Hamilton, N.Y. (Colgate University), Finkbine GC in Iowa City, Iowa (University of Iowa), Yale GC in New Haven, Conn. (Yale University) and the University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque, N.M. (University of New Mexico). The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio has hosted the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at its Scarlet Course since 2007.

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