Posted: Wednesday, March 20th 2013 at 6:59pm
Players to watch at this week's Milton Martin Classic
Planning to catch any of the NGA Tour's Milton Martin Honda Classic this week at Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville?
If so, here's a look at five golfers to follow from the start of Thursday's opening round -- at least according to an expert panel that the NGA Tour assembled this season to predict top five finishes for each of the Tour's 18 Pro Series events this season.
The panel includes members that specialize in the golf industry and have the experience of covering the NGA Tour for multiple seasons.
Former Florida Gator Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.) leads this week’s picks after being selected on three of our experts’ cards and being listed as the top pick on two of them. The 2013 Pro Series winner returns to the site where he shot an opening round 65 a year ago, good enough for second place until the event was eventually cancelled due to weather.
Matching Alexander’s three selections is 2012 NGA Tour Player of the Year Brandon Brown (Shelbyville, Ken.). Brown is coming off his first missed cut in over a year-and-a-half (and that includes the PGA TOUR’s 2013 Reno-Tahoe Open), but he returns to the site of his first 2011 win, which kick started his two year run as the NGA TOUR’s leading money winner.
Four players make our experts’ lists twice: Jon Curran out of Hopkinton, Mass., Reid Edstrom out of Auburn, Ala., Brent Long out of Carthage, Tenn., and Riley Wheeldon out of Comox, B.C., Canada.
Curran recently finished tied for 24th at the PGA TOUR Puerto Rico Open. Edstrom spent 2012 on the Web.com Tour and will be making his first NGA start of the season at the site of his fourth place finish in 2011. Long has momentum on his side coming off a fourth-place finish last week at the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic, his first NGA event of the 2013 season. Wheeldon may be the hottest of them all as the former Louisville Cardinal is coming off his first professional win at last week’s Kandy Waters Memorial Classic.
Jonathan Bartlett (Vero Beach, Fla.), Scott Feaster (Columbia, S.C.), and Patton Kizzire (Saint Simons Island) were selected to one expert’s list each. However, each pick comes with high expectations as they were their particular expert’s top pick to win this week.
There are also a number of locally-based golfers that will take their shot at glory this week, including Habersham County native and Alto resident Ryan Chitwood. Gainesville's Jim Foote will play as an amateur, while Steve Hooper bases out of Flowery Branch. Blake Palmer, of Dawsonville, is also amongst the competitors.
Tournament play will begin on Thursday and will continue through Sunday at Chattahoochee. The tournament is free and open to the public.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Web.com Tours and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Web.com Tour Professionals. The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro, Web.com, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won 15 “Major” Championships.
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