Storylines: Melwood Prince George's County OpenJune 01, 2011
Nationwide Tour staff
ON TV THIS WEEK: Melwood Prince George's County Open on Golf Channel
KEEGAN BRADLEY, CLASS OF 2010 MAKING WAVES -- The 2010 Nationwide Tour class is having a big impact on the PGA TOUR this year. Keegan Bradley won his first PGA TOUR event Sunday, the HP Byron Nelson Championship, in only his 16th start. At age 24 years, 11 months and 22 days, the nephew of World Golf Hall of Fame member Pat Bradley is the youngest winner on TOUR this year. Bradley is the third member of last year's Nationwide Tour class of 25 graduates to win this year, joining Jhonattan Vegas and Brendan Steele.
Another player who competed regularly on the Nationwide Tour last year before earning his TOUR card via q-school, Gary Woodland, also picked up a win earlier this year. Bradley leaped 53 spots to No. 20 on the FedExCup points list. His win was the 18th this year on TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour player (of 23 events played) and 306th since the Tour was launched in 1990.
COACH GARY WILLIAMS RETURNS AS TOURNAMENT HOST -- Gary Williams, who recently retired as the University of Maryland men's basketball coach, will serve as host of the Melwood Prince George's County Open presented by Under Armour for the second year. In addition to his support of the tournament and the Nationwide Tour, Coach Williams brought a host of celebrities to play in Tuesday afternoon's Gary Williams Celebrity Pro-Am. This includes UM baseball coach Erik Bakich, UM football coach Randy Edsall, Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, former Washington Wizards head coach Eddie Jordan, Under Armour CEO and UM grad Kevin Plank, former Baltimore Orioles' star B.J. Surhoff and Nationwide Tour president and former UM All-American Bill Calfee, among others.
HOME GAME FOR BILLY HURLEY -- 2004 Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley has received a sponsor exemption to play this week. The 28-year-old was born in Leesburg, Va. (turns 29 on June 9th) and attended high school there. He currently resides in Annapolis where the Academy is located. Hurley, who won seven college titles and was the sixth-ranked amateur in the world in 2004, spent last year serving on a Navy destroyer in the Persian Gulf. He returned to competitive golf late last year, earning conditional status on the Nationwide Tour based on his finish last December in q-school.
SAGE VALLEY JUNIOR WINNER NICHOLAS REACH GETS INVITE -- One of the perks of winning the recent inaugural Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in South Carolina was a spot in the Melwood Prince George's County Open. Nicholas Reach of Moscow, Pa. was a runaway winner by eight shots. The 18-year-old, who is headed to the University of Georgia in the fall to play golf, shot a course record-tying 62 in the second round. He was presented the "Sage Valley Gold" jacket by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.
The field included 54 young men from 18 countries and 20 states in the U.S. Reach is familiar with the Nationwide Tour having played on sponsor exemptions in the 2008 and 2009 Northeast Pennsylvania Classic in the Scranton area where he grew up.
AN EYE ON THE FUTURE -- The NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship takes place this week (Tuesday through Sunday) at Oklahoma State University's home course, Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla. At the conclusion of the Championship, the Jack Nicklaus Award winner will be announced (outstanding individual men's player in college golf) by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Past recipients have included Kevin Chappell (2008), Jamie Lovemark (2007), Bill Haas (2004), D.J. Trahan (2002), Bryce Molder (2001), Stewart Cink (1995) and David Duval (1993), all former Nationwide Tour standouts. Competing in this year's NCAA Championship are recent Stadion Classic at UGA winner Russell Hendley of the University of Georgia and March's Chitimacha Louisiana Open runner-up Andres Echavarria of the University of Florida.
DID YOU KNOW?? Every player who finished T19 or better at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last week was a Nationwide Tour alumnus....as were 59 of the 73 professionals who made the cut. Recent BMW Charity Pro-Am winner on the Nationwide Tour Garth Mulroy finished T45.
BIRTHDAY BOYS -- Celebrating birthdays this week are Darren Stiles (1st / turns 38) and Ty Tryon (2nd / 27).
NEXT WEEK -- It's down I-95 to Raleigh, N.C. for the 18th playing of The Rex Hospital Open at TPC Wakefield Plantation (June 9-12).