BRENDEN PAPPAS TO MAKE RARE NATIONWIDE TOUR TITLE DEFENSE -- South African and University of Arkansas graduate Brenden Pappas will make a rare Nationwide Tour title defense this week in Raleigh. He claimed his first Tour victory last year with birdies on the last two holes, including a 25-footer on No. 18, to top the 156-man field. No one has successfully defended since the Tour's inception in 1990. Despite his win, Pappas missed his PGA TOUR card last fall by two spots and just $11,668.
REX HOSPITAL OPEN FEATURES UNIQUE HIGH SCHOOL GOLFER EXEMPTION -- On Sunday The Rex Hospital Open planned to conduct a Pro-Junior Invitational featuring the top 20 female and top 60 male North Carolina high school golfers, with the medalist earning a spot in the tournament proper. Tropical storm "Barry" got in the way of the competition (12 holes were played before cancellation), but the tournament's Pro-Junior Committee elected to choose one player to represent the group with Raleigh resident Henry Zaytoun getting the nod. Zaytoun is a two-time state high school champion (NC Class 3A Independent), who is headed to UNC-Chapel Hill on a golf scholarship. He won the 2005 Donald Ross Junior Championship, qualified for last year's U.S. Amateur and once shot 61 at North Ridge CC in Raleigh.
BMW EVENT SETS TOURNAMENT AND TOUR RECORD FOR CHARITABLE GIVING -- South Carolina Charities, Inc. announced on Monday that the 2007 BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs will raise more than $2 million for Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina charities. This is a record for not only the tournament, but the Nationwide Tour as well. Much of the more than three-fold increase in the BMW's average annual proceeds of $616,000 since 2001 is attributable to a Friday evening celebrity auction, "A Night in the Spirit of Giving", presented by IMI. Once-in-a-lifetime auction items were donated by Kevin Costner, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky and The Cliffs, among others. Final details will be announced and checks presented to the charities at the tournament's annual Charity Recognition Luncheon this summer.
COLLEGIANS HEADING TO COLUMBUS AND NATIONWIDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL INVITATIONAL -- On Saturday at the completion of the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship in Williamsburg, VA, the Golf Coaches Association of America announced its award winners, all of whom will be eligible to compete in next month's inaugural Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational. Named to the Division I PING First-Team All-American Team were ten players: Rhys Davies/East Tenessee State, Billly Horschel/Florida, Dustin Johnson /Coastal Carolina, Chris Kirk and Brendon Todd/Georgia, Niklas Lemke/Arizona State, Jamie Lovemark/Southern California, Kyle Stanley/Clemson, Daniel Summerhays /Brigham Young and Dawie Van Der Walt/Lamar. Lovemark also captured the Arnold Palmer Award for winning the national championship individual title and the Jack Nicklaus Award as College Player of the Year, both of which were also eligibility categories for the Nationwide Tour event. One related invitation has been extended to last year's U.S. Amateur champion, Richie Ramsay of Scotland. The event will be played July 9-15 in Nationwide's hometown of Columbus, OH, with the Ohio State University Scarlet Course hosting the tournament. Columbus native and OSU great Jack Nicklaus is the tournament's Honorary Chairman.
A MASTERS, A U.S. OPEN AND A PGA -- The majors are well represented this week at the Rex Hospital Open with Larry Mize ('87 Masters), Steve Jones ('96 U.S. Open) and Mark Brooks ('96 PGA) all scheduled to be in Raleigh.
SITTING ON NO. 25 -- Gary Christian of England and Auburn University occupies No. 25 on this week's money list, just $1,038 ahead of the Tour's youngest player, Jason Day, 19, of Australia. LaSalle Bank Open winner John Riegger made the biggest move of the week from No. 57 to No. 6. "THE 25" leading money winners at season's conclusion in early November will earn 2008 PGA TOUR cards.
DID YOU KNOW? Rex Hospital Open defending champion Brenden Pappas and his brother Deane (2000 Cleveland Open and 2001 Monterrey Open) are the only brothers to win on the Nationwide Tour.
The field at this week's Rex Hospital Open features 27 former PGA TOUR winners who have a collective 68 TOUR wins. Included in that number are a Masters (Larry Mize), a PGA Championship (Mark Brooks) and a U.S. Open (Steve Jones).
If the PGA TOUR Regular Season ended today, 15 of last year's 22 graduates would qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs announced this week that it generated at least $2 million for local charities. That's the most of any event in the Nationwide Tour's history.
His victory in Raleigh was nearly enough for Brenden Pappas to gain one of the 22 PGA TOUR cards handed out at the end of the 2006 season, but he painfully missed by just two spots. Pappas ended up just $11,668 behind No. 22 John Merrick on the final money list.
The Rex Hospital Open returns to TPC Wakefield Plantation for the seventh consecutive season. Last year, the 7,257-yard, par-71 layout played to an average of 70.852, making it the 21st-toughest course of the season.
Six past champions of The Rex Hospital Open will be teeing it up this week at TPC Wakefield Plantation, including Skip Kendall (1994), Vance Veazey (1999), Zoran Zorkic (2002), David Morland IV (2003), Chris Anderson (2004) and Brenden Pappas (2006). Kendall's win came during the inaugural playing of the event and represented his second win of that year (1994 Inland Empire Open was the other). Pappas is hoping to do the same this year, having won already at the 2006 Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
There have been three playoffs during the 14-year history of The Rex Hospital Open. Glen Hnatiuk defeated Craig Perks in 1996, Mark Hensby topped Manny Zerman in 2000 and Chris Anderson beat Jason Buha, Paul Gow and Brendan Jones in 2004.