March 05, 2012
By John Dell, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent PGATOUR.COM
The Nationwide Tour is conquering new territory this week with the inaugural Chile Classic Presented by Pacific Rubiales.
It's the first time the Nationwide Tour has been to Chile, with the tournament being played at the Prince of Wales Country Club.
The Chile Classic is the second Tour event to be held in South America, joining the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, which was first played in 2010.
The $600,000 purse will feature 144 players that will include a field that is heavy on international players. There are exemptions for the top money winners from last year's Tour da Las Americas Order of Merit and exemptions have been granted to six players from Latin America.
"With golf being added to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the Chile Classic takes on additional significance in contributing to the growth of the game in the region during the run up to the Games," Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee said.
|Power Rankings: Chile Classic|
| || ||Luke |
|The 27-year-old former Vanderbilt star is off to a good start, having made two cuts to open the season. He really came on last week in Panama with weekend rounds of 67-68 to tie for second. He's wielding a hot putter so if that carries over, watch out.|
| || ||Casey |
|In his season debut, quietly shot a solid 67 on Sunday in Panama to finish tied for 19th, giving him a boost heading into this week. He was very consistent last season on Tour, making 14 of 16 cuts.|
| || ||Justin |
|A solid sixth-place finish last week after an opening-round 65 should get the former Georgia player into a good a frame of mind. The 35-year-old Bolli played 22 events last season on Tour and made 14 cuts but had just six top 25 finishes.|
| || ||Cameron |
|The Australian who split time between the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR last season tied for second on Sunday. It didn't look very promising when he shot a first-round 75, but he rallied with rounds of 69-66-67 to finish at 3 under.|
| || ||Juan |
|The 17-year-old is one of the top amateurs in South America and comes from a golf family. Getting the chance to play in his first pro tournament and will no doubt be a crowd favorite. Won the Junior Orange Bowl International in December near Miami.|
The Tour will take next week off before making its domestic debut at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open March 22-25.
John Dell has covered golf for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina for the last 18 years. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.