McCormick course ready for NGA/Hooters event

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One month ago, Monticello Golf Club was drenched from the abundant winter showers.

A pleasant, sun-filled spring has helped dry out the McCormick, S.C., course, which is now ready for the Savannah Lakes Village Classic.

"It's in great shape," tournament director Barb Shelley said. "I'm hoping it's difficult."

The NGA/Hooters Tour event, the sixth tournament on the schedule, is considered a major. The event features a $250,000 purse, with an estimated $40,000 going to the winner.

Matthew Harmon of Grand Rapids, Mich., the 2009 winner, is looking to repeat. He birdied two of the final four holes for a one-shot win over David Skinns, Matthew Anderson and Russell Knox.

A full field of 168 golfers is expected. The final 10 golfers will earn their way into the event through a Tuesday qualifier. The tournament organizers decided to back up the qualifier one day so it wouldn't interfere with the Nationwide Tour's Monday qualifier in Athens, Ga.

The nearby Savannah Lakes Resort, a separate entity from the golf course and residential community, closed in March. With that in mind, Shelley and her fellow homeowners within Savannah Lakes will house 130 golfers along with Hooters Tour staff.

Shelley said the tournament has more than 260 volunteers helping out throughout the week. The volunteers recently held a cleanup day at the course.

"The whole community really gets ready for this," Shelley said.

Tournament week begins with a junior clinic at 4:30 p.m. Monday. The popular Savannah Lakes Shootout, which pairs a professional and an amateur in an alternate-shot format, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The first round begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Former USC Aiken golfer Roberto Diaz, Augusta's William Lanier, Swainsboro's Will Claxton and Adam McKenney of Evans are among the local golfers entered.


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