Preview: Strong field prepared to play in Ohio

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July 23, 2008
Adam Wallace, PGA TOUR Staff

Columbus, Ohio -- The word colt can be defined as a young or inexperienced person, although Colt Knost, age 23, is far removed from that definition entering the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

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Knost, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, turned professional after winning the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links Championship in the summer of 2007. By turning pro, he forfeited invitations to play in the 2008 Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. However, the top-ranked amateur wished to move ahead with his professional career, which has proven to be a smart decision. In May, Knost notched his first professional victory at the Fort Smith Classic presented by Stephens, Inc.

Last week, Knost recorded his second win at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. With that victory, the Dallas resident moved from No.20 on the money list to No. 2 ($253,628), all but securing one of the coveted 25 PGA TOUR cards for 2009.

For the fourth consecutive week and the eleventh overall, Jarrod Lyle leads the pack with $288,771. Lyle and Knost are in tough company this week at the Jack Nicklaus re-designed Scarlet Course at Ohio State University's Golf Course. All but seven of the top-100 money leaders are in the field. Bryan DeCorso (18), Gavin Coles (39), David Hearn (47), Webb Simpson (59), Kyle Thompson (66), David Lutterus (77), and Brad Fritsch (86) are all playing in RBC Canadian Open this week.

In only its second year, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational has provided a great deal of history. Last year, amateur Daniel Summerhays, who was preparing to enter his senior year at Brigham Young University, navigated his way around the Scarlet course in 278 strokes (6-under), two better than professionals Chad Collins and Chris Nallen. Summerhays became the first amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour. He returns to defend this year as a professional and aims to become the first player in Nationwide Tour history to successfully defend his title.

Trying to follow in Summerhays' footsteps are seven NCAA Division I PING First-Team All-Americans. Kevin Chappell (UCLA), Jonas Blixt (Florida State), Rickie Fowler (Oklahoma State), Rory Hie (Southern California), Sihwan Kim (Stanford), Jamie Lovemark (Southern California), and Michael Thompson (Alabama) all accepted invitations to play in this year's Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

Catch all four rounds of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational starting this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Next week the Nationwide Tour heads to Omaha, Neb., for the Cox Classic presented by Chevrolet.

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