|...Carolina Golf News Line|
RETURNS FOR THIRD ANNUAL SOUTHERN OPEN”
Concord, N.C. – The Charlotte-based Tarheel Professional Golf Tour returns to Cabarrus Country Club in Concord, NC this week for the third annual Southern Open on July 12-14. The field of 170 of professional golf’s top players will be competing for a share of the $125,000 purse as well as the $20,000 first-place check. The tour, which was formed in 2002 and has quickly become one of professional golf’s top developmental tours, consists of 21 tournaments throughout the 2007 season with events being played from Hilton Head Island, SC to Charlottesville, VA.
Tarheel Tour Tournament Director David Siegel cites the prize money and the host course as great recruiting tools for this event. “Anytime you offer players of this caliber the chance to compete for a first-place check of $20,000 on a venue like Cabarrus Country Club, you’re going to have a successful tournament.”
The George Cobb-designed layout at Cabarrus Country Club has long been a fixture on the Tarheel Tour and easily one of the players’ favorite tracks.
“The great thing about Cabarrus is that it is all right in front of you, yet the rough and the greens will penalize a poorly struck golf shot. It is arguably the fairest course we’ll play all year.”
The player that most golf fans will be eyeing during the tournament is Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey of Bishopville, SC. Gainey, who gained his nickname from the two gloves he wears while playing golf, earned national acclaim as a participant on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break V” series. He recently won the “Big Break VII” reunion series, thus solidifying his spot in several Nationwide Tour events. Gainey currently sits in third place on the 2007 Tarheel Tour money list with earnings over $37,000.
The money list is led by William McGirt of Boiling Springs, SC, who has earned $41,723 thus far this season. McGirt claimed his first Tarheel Tour title at last month’s Cabarrus Classic (held at Cabarrus C.C.) and thus has to be considered a pre-tournament favorite. Close behind McGirt on the money list as well as those among the list of favorites is 2006 U.S. Open participant Andy Bare of Jacksonville, FL. Bare, who played his college golf at UNC-Greensboro, is coming off of his fifth top-five finish of the 2007 season at the inaugural Spring Creek Classic in Charlottesville. Bare holds a slim lead over Gainey on the money list with $37,920.
Other Tarheel Tour notables who will be teeing it up this week include defending champion Brian Quackenbush, all-time Tarheel Tour leading money winner Matt Cannon, 2007 Spring Creek Classic champion Roberto Castro, Tim Straub, Stephen Woodard, and Wesley Pate, son of 1976 U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate.
The first round will begin at 8 A.M. on Thursday morning. The tournament is open to the public and free of charge.