The NGA Pro Golf Tour makes its annual stop at the Members Club’s Woodcreek Course this week for the Woodecreek Classic with two guarantees — par will take a beating and the Ronald McDonald House, the tournament’s charity, will be a winner.
Oh, yes, some of the PGA Tour’s stars of tomorrow will be there, too.
The NGA has become a proving ground for fledgling pros, and its alumni have won 14 major championships, including most recently Bubba Watson (2012 Masters) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA).
“I watch their work and am amazed at the caliber of players,” said Terry Johnson, a PGA pro and NGA Tour official. “I would put our top 20 against the Web.com’s top 20 and we would have an extremely competitive match.”
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To support his statement, Johnson pointed out that James White finished second in the NGA’s event in Florence two weeks ago, then qualified on Monday for the Web.com tourney in Knoxville and tied for second.
“We’re just delighted to provide our members and the Columbia area community the opportunity to see high-level professional golf,” Members Cub president Charles Potok said.
A full field of 168 players is expected to compete Thursday-Sunday with the winner collecting $22,000 from the $150,000 purse. The champion will have to “go low;” Jonathan Randolph won last year at 25-under par 263.
“Our committee of 10 started work eight months ago,” tournament chairman Stan Luallin said. “We have to get volunteers, help arrange housing for some of the players, work with sponsors and lots of other details.”
Volunteer coordinator Tudy Clark has lined up 160 volunteers — some club members, some not — to make sure the tournament runs smoothly.
“We know we will have a great tournament,” Luallin said. “Seven players who played in our tournament are in the top 25 on the Web.com earnings list this year, and we have 11 who played at Woodcreek in the (PGA Tour’s) Barclay.”
The public is invited free of charge to the tournament that beings at 7:30 a.m. Thursday-Sunday. In addition, there will be a 9-hole shootout Tuesday at 3 p.m. and a clinic of juniors at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Benedict College coach Craig Bowen has been named a recipient of the Outstanding Leaders in Golf by the African American Golfer’s Digest.
The award honors achievements of individuals who have made a notable impact and contribution toward the advancement of the game and bringing minorities into golf. Bowen will receive the award Sept. 21 at the Upper Richland Community Center on Campground Road.
“This award is a great honor ... very special to me,” he said. “This under-represented group will be a huge part of golf’s growth for years to come.”
Former baseball star Roger Clemens will be among the more than 3,300 golfers who will compete in the 30th annual Golf.com World Amateur Championship this week in Myrtle Beach. Players from all 50 states and more than 20 countries have entered. ... J.D. Hoft and James Manning birdied the first playoff hole to edge Bert Atkinson and Sammy Truett for the SCGA’s Mid-Amateur Four-Ball title at Dataw Island Club. ... In the rain-shortened Carolinas PGA Pro-Assistant tourney, Jason Cherry and Matt Bova (Haig Point, Daufuskie Island) tied for third, the top finish by a South Carolina team. Woodlands pro Roham Allwood, playing with North Carolina pro Mike Cato, tied for seventh.