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Georgia Open back at Chateau Elan

POSTED: August 1, 2012 10:00 p.m.

The Georgia Open returns to The Legends at Chateau Elan for the first time since 2005, with the state’s mini-tour players looking to continue their recent run of success in the tournament.

The two most recent Georgia Open winners are both mini-tour players; Jay McLuen of Forsyth (2011 at Barnsley Gardens) and Samuel Del Val (2010 at Savannah Harbor), now an Augusta resident.

Both will be in the field for the 2012 tournament, which tees off Thursday with 144 players.

Stephen Keppler, Craig Stevens, Bill Murchison and Jeff Hull head up the Georgia PGA contingent in this year’s field.

Jody Bellflower (‘02) and Jared Garrity (‘06) are returning to the tournament this year, with Garrity having regained his amateur status. Former PGA and Champions Tour player 

DeWitt Weaver, Jr., a four-time Georgia Open winner, is also playing, as is fellow ex-PGA/Champions Tour player Joe Inman, the golf coach at Georgia State. John Smoltz will be making his third consecutive start in the tournament, with the former Atlanta Braves pitching great placing in the top 30 in both of his previous appearances.

Don Wright, Ryan Zebeau, Jonathan Fricke, Billy Shida and Brett Munson are among the mini-tour players joining the tournament.

Ted Moon, a member of the golf team at Belmont College, tied for 2nd last year along with recent UGA golfer Rob Bennett, and is among the top amateurs in the field. Others include fellow collegians Blaine Woodruff (South Carolina), Jimmy Beck and Jonathan Klotz (both Kennesaw State). Two-time Georgia Amateur champion David Noll will also compete along with former GSGA Mid-Amateur champion Mark Strickland.

The Legends measures just under 7,000 yards from the tips, even with an addition of a new back tee on the first hole that added about 20 yards. The biggest change to the course since the Georgia Open was last played there seven years ago occurred last year, when the greens were changed from bent grass to Champions Bermuda, making the greens firmer than in the past.

Many of the holes at the Legends were designed to replicate the strategic challenge posed by holes from famous courses around the globe, among them the Olympic Club, Medinah, Winged Foot, Merion, Pinehurst, St. Andrews, Troon and Augusta National.

An online leader board will be available during the tournament at www.GeorgiaPGA.com.


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