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Five NGAers finish top-10 in Tour Opener

Panama City, Fla. – (February 24, 2013) – Former NGA TOUR players Scott Brown, Len Mattiace, Nick Flanagan, Vaughn Taylor and Chris Wilson racked up top-10 finishes in the season-opening Tour event on Sunday.

Brown, a 2008 NGA TOUR member, closed with a 4-under 66 in the Panama Claro Championship to move into a tie for fourth at 4-under par with NGA TOUR alum Len Mattiace, who fired a final-round 69.

Former NGA TOUR winner Vaughn Taylor and 2011 NGA TOUR member Chris Wilson posted 1-over 71s on Sunday to finish in a tie for ninth at 2-under par. Former NGA TOUR player Nick Flanagan recorded a 3-under 67 in the final round to join the duo in a tie for ninth place.

Randall Hutchison, a 2012 NGA TOUR member, made a nice move up the leaderboard in his debut as a Tour member on Sunday. The multi-time Bridgestone Winter Series winner closed with a 4-under 66 to move into a tie for 13th with NGA TOUR alums Billy Hurley III (69) and Chris Tidland (69) at 1-under par for the event.

Former NGA TOUR players Brendon Todd (74) and Todd Hamilton (70) finished at even par for the event and tied for 21st.

For full-field scores, click here.

Four NGA alums T6 or better in Panama Claro Championship

Panama City, Panama – (February 24, 2013) – Former NGA TOUR players Brendon Todd, Chris Wilson, Vaughn Taylor and Len Mattiace will start the final round of the Tour’s Panama Claro Championship tied for sixth at 3-under par.

Todd, a former NGA TOUR winner, had the low round of the foursome. The 2007 NGA Dothan Classic winner carded three birdies and two bogeys en route to a 1-under 69 in the third round of the season opener.

Wilson, a 2011 NGA TOUR member, posted an even-par 70 at the Panama Golf Club in the third round; Taylor, a four-time NGA TOUR winner, recorded a 1-over 71; and Mattiace, a three-year NGA TOUR player, shot a 2-over 72. All four trail leader Mathew Goggin by four shots going into the final round.

After shooting an even-par 70 in the third round, former NGA TOUR member Scott Brown is T11 and 2-under par going into the final round of play, while alums Mark Anderson (73) and Aron Price (73) are 1-under par and tied for 15th.

NGAers Chris Tidland (68), Ben Martin (68), Nate Smith (71), John Peterson (71), Rob Oppenheim (72), Scott Sterling (72), Kyle Reifers (72), Todd Hamilton (73) and Billy Hurley III (74) finished the second round T19 at even par.

For full-field scores, click here.

Third Round Update: Five NGAers T4 or better in Tour opener

Panama City, Panama – February 23, 2013 – Former NGA TOUR player Len Mattiace carded a 5-under 65 in the second round of the Panama Claro Championship on Friday to move into a tie for second.

Mattiace, a three-year NGA TOUR veteran, opened with an even-par 70 and will start the weekend trailing only leader Dae-Hyun Kim, who is 7-under par after the second round of play in the season opener.

Former NGA TOUR players Billy Hurley III, Aron Price, Mark Anderson and Vaughn Taylor are tied for fourth at 4-under par. Price, who finished T2 on the NGA TOUR in 2006, had the lowest round of the group, shooting a 4-under 66. Hurley, a winner on the NGA TOUR in 2010, posted a 68, while Taylor and Anderson shot 69 and 72, respectively.

Chris Wilson, a 2011 NGA TOUR member, stayed near the top of the leaderboard with a 1-over 71 in the second round. Wilson will start the weekend at 3-under par and tied for 12th with NGA TOUR alums Brendon Todd (69), Todd Hamilton (68) and Joe Durant (65).

NGAers Kyle Reifers (68), Scott Sterling (69), Scott Brown (70), Rob Oppenheim (70) and 2012 NGA TOUR member Andrew Loupe (74) are T20 and 2-under par following in the second round of play.

For full-field scores, click here.

First Round Update: NGA alums Andrew Loupe, Mark Anderson lead in Panama

Panama City, Panama – February 22, 2013 – Former NGA TOUR players Andrew Loupe and Mark Anderson carded 6-under 64s in the first round of the Panama Claro Championship to share the early lead in the Tour season-opener.

Loupe, who had four top-five finishes on the NGA TOUR in 2012, carded seven birdies and one bogey in the first start of his rookie season on the No. 2 tour. Loupe, a former LSU standout, played in four Tour events last season.

Anderson, who played on the NGA TOUR in 2009, was hotter than the sweltering Panama heat at the start of the round. The former University of South Carolina golfer shot a 6-under 29 on the outward nine before cooling off on the backside with an even-par finish.

Former NGA TOUR winner James Nitties was one stroke back after carding a 5-under 65 in the first round. Nitties, a native of Melbourne, Australia, will start the second round in a tie for third place.

Chris Wilson, a 2011 NGA TOUR member, posted six birdies and two bogeys en route to a 4-under 66 and a tie for sixth, while former NGA TOUR member Vaughn Taylor opened with a 3-under 67 to finish the day tied for ninth.

NGAers Chesson Hadley, Brendon Todd, Scott Brown, Rob Oppenheim, Billy Hurley III and 2012 NGA TOUR competitor John Peterson posted rounds of 2-under 68 to earn a share of 16th in the first round.

Preview: Recent NGA TOUR grads ready for Tour opener

Myrtle Beach, S.C.– February 20, 2013 – The Tour season will kick off this week in Panama with the playing of the Panama Claro Championship. And for several recent NGA TOUR graduates, the event marks the next step on the ladder to the PGA TOUR

After competing on the NGA TOUR in 2012, Andrew Loupe, Matt Harmon, Randall Hutchison, Ryan Spears and Jonathan Hodge will join over 80 other NGA TOUR alums at the Tour season-opener.
Loupe, a former LSU standout, only missed four cuts in 19 starts, amassed over $86,000 in earnings and picked up eight top-10 finishes, including a win and two runner-up efforts, in less than two years on the NGA TOUR. Loupe has competed in seven Tour events the past two years and has made the cut in four of them with three top-25 finishes. 
Harmon, a former Michigan State golfer, started last season on the NGA TOUR, but he played his way onto the Tour midseason with a final-round 61 and a T2 finish in the Stonebrae Championship, earning him full exempt status on the Tour for the remainder of the season. Matt went on to make over $88,000 in earnings in 16 events on the No. 2 tour.
Hutchison, a Michigan State alum, won the NGA TOUR’s Bridgestone Winter Series money title in 2011-12 and carried over his success to the Pro Series where he made 13 of 14 cuts and finished inside the tour’s top 20 money list. He started off this season’s Winter Series the same way, winning twice in a tune up for his rookie season on the Tour.
Spears, a former Wichita State golfer, came to the NGA TOUR in 2011 after a highly-decorated collegiate career. As a Shocker, Spears was an All-American, participated in the US-Japan Cup and earned Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors. On the NGA TOUR, Spears earned his first professional win at the NGA’s Buffalo Run Casino Classic in his home state of Oklahoma and was named the NGA TOUR’s 2011 Rookie of the Year. Spears continued his success in 2012 finishing 13th on the NGA TOUR’s money list with 12 of 13 cuts made and over $42,000 in earnings.
Hodge, a UT Chattanooga alumnus, joined the NGA TOUR in 2010. Hodge started his NGA career on fire by making 11 of 14 Pro Series cuts with four top-20 finishes, including three straight to finish the season. After a forgetful 2011, Hodge regained the form that made him one of the NGA’s top prospects, making seven of eight cuts to start the year and earning four top-20 finishes, including two top 10s.
While the aforementioned will be looking to gain traction to start their rookie seasons, several NGAers are expected to contend for the victory in the Panama Claro Championship.
Former NGA TOUR winner Camilo Benedetti heads the’s Power Rankings for the event. Benedetti, who made over 40 NGA TOUR starts, missed his PGA TOUR card by less than $1,000 last season and will be looking for some redemption. The No. 1-ranked player has three top-15 finishes in Panama.
Fellow NGA TOUR winner Rob Oppenheim enters the season-opening event with a little momentum. The longtime NGA competitor won on the NGA TOUR’s Bridgestone Winter Series earlier this year. Oppenheim is ranked No. 3 in the Power Rankings in Panama.
Former NGA TOUR player Jeff Klauk is ranked No. 4 this week. Klauk, who played on the NGA TOUR in 2001 and 2005, is less than a year removed from brain surgery to alleviate epileptic triggers and comes into the Tour opener after finishing in a tie for 16th in the PGA TOUR’s Phoenix Open, playing on a major medical extension on the PGA TOUR.
Joe Affrunti is also playing under the major medical extension on the PGA TOUR this season, but he will be in the Tour field this week, hoping to stay hot before moving to the top tour. Like Oppenheim, Affrunti won on the BWS this season, earning the victory at Timacuan Golf Club.
While not list in the Power Rankings, NGA TOUR veterans Russell Knox, Billy Hurley III, Philip Pettitt Jr., Jim Renner and Chris Wilson are capable of winning at any time. Knox, Hurley, Renner and Wilson have played at the PGA TOUR level and will be looking for an early victory to bolster their chances of returning to the top in 2013. Pettitt, who beat out Keegan Bradley for the NGA TOUR Rookie of the Year in 2009, finished his rookie season on the Tour in 2012 with three top-10 finishes and seven top 25s.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Tours and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Tour Professionals.
The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro,, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink; 2009 U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open Champion Ben Curtis; two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA Champion John Daly; British Open Champion Tom Lehman; PGA Champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship Winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year Michael Thompson; 2012 PGA TOUR winners Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings and Scott Piercy.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2012, the NGA TOUR became the “Official Partner of the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open” and secured one PGA TOUR and six Tour event exemptions for its members, the most in developmental golf.
For more information on the NGA or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, please visit our website at or contact our Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.
NGA TOUR alumni in Panama Claro Championship:
1.      Joe Affrunti
2.      Mark Anderson
3.      Alex Aragon
4.      Camilo Benedetti
5.      Shane Bertsch
6.      Matt Bettencourt
7.      Joseph Bramlett
8.      D.J. Brigman
9.      Scott Brown
10.  Paul Claxton
11.  Chad Collins
12.  Vince Covello
13.  Matt Davidson
14.  Marco Dawson
15.  Glen Day
16.  Brian Duncan
17.  Joe Durant
18.  Danny Ellis
19.  Derek Fathauer          
20.  Dusty Fielding
21.  Nick Flanagan
22.  Steve Friesen
23.  Scott Gutschewski
24.  Chesson Hadley
25.  Todd Hamilton
26.  Matt Harmon
27.  Jim Herman
28.  Jonathan Hodge
29.  Morgan Hoffmann
30.  Billy Hurley III
31.  Randall Hutchison
32.  Ryuji Imada
33.  Skip Kendall
34.  J.J. Killeen
35.  Kevin Kisner
36.  Jeff Klauk
37.  Russell Knox
38.  Cliff Kresge
39.  Mike Lavery
40.  Edward Loar
41.  Andrew Loupe
42.  Will MacKenzie
43.  Ben Martin
44.  Len Mattiace
45.  Parker McLachlin
46.  Shaun Micheel
47.  Phillip Mollica
48.  James Nitties
49.  Mike Norman
50.  Rob Oppenheim
51.  Scott Parel
52.  John Peterson
53.  Philip Pettitt Jr.
54.  Ewan Porter
55.  Aron Price
56.  Fran Quinn
57.  Kyle Reifers
58.  Jim Renner
59.  John Riegger
60.  Alexandre Rocha
61.  Sam Saunders
62.  Richard Scott
63.  Patrick Sheehan
64.  Heath Slocum
65.  Byron Smith
66.  Nate Smith
67.  Ryan Spears
68.  B.J. Staten
69.  Brett Stegmaier
70.  Scott Sterling
71.  Andrew Svoboda
72.  Hudson Swafford
73.  Vaughn Taylor
74.  Kyle Thompson
75.  Chris Tidland
76.  Brendon Todd
77.  Ron Whittaker
78.  Chris Wilson
79.  Will Wilcox
80.  Bronson La’Cassie
81.  Michael Sims
82.  Kevin Kim
83.  Mark Silvers
84.  Reid Edstrom
85.  Matt Hendrix
86.  Josh Broadaway

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