Aspiring PGA Tour golfers invade Dayton

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DAYTON - Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club has an excellent reputation among golfers throughout Northern Nevada. You can add the Professional Golfers Association to that long list.

Why else would the PGA continually come back to Dayton Valley year after year as one of its Stage 1 qualifying sites?

For the 15th straight year, golfers descend on Dayton Valley Golf & Country Club for the annual PGA Tour Stage 1 Qualifying Tournament. The 72-hole tournament starts at 9 a.m. today and continues through Saturday.

"For PGA Q-School we play courses where they want us to be there and the players feel welcome and comfortable," said Steve Carman, director of PGA Stage Qualifying Tournaments. "They have certainly done that and more at Dayton Valley, and we have a very good relationship here. The only other prerequisite is that the course offers a fair test of golf for the players to demonstrate their ability. Dayton obviously has done just that and it's the reason we continue to come back as the players will attest."

The Dayton site is one of 13 around the country holding Stage I tournaments. A year ago, the top 23 and ties advanced to Stage II. The exact number of golfers advancing will be announced later today. Seventy-one golfers have entered this year, and many have been playing practice rounds the last two days.

There are several notables in this year's field, including 2007 co-medalists Tyrone Van Aswegen and Seung-san Han, 2005 medalist Ben Portie, 2000 medalist Jeremy Anderson plus Chris Kamin, Brian Kontak, James Drew, Ryan Ellis, Jason Allen and Mike Pearson.

This will be Kamin's 10th appearance at Dayton. He is currently the second-leading money winner on the Gateway Tour (Arizona) with $122,464. This will be Kontak's ninth appearance, Portie's and Ellis' seventh and Drew's eighth.

A total of 21 players are back from last year and 30 have played at Dayton before.

Rick Vaughan, the head professional at Dayton Valley, said superintendent Kay Berntson has been busy getting the course in tip-top shape for the event.

"The last two weeks we've started rolling and double-cutting the greens to get prepared," Vaughan said. "The greens should be 11 on the stimpmeter on competition days.

"The PGA sends you a memo detailing how they want the course set up; how high the rough can be. They want a fair test for everybody."

Berntson said his biggest job was to fix the traps on the course.

"We turned the dirt over in all of them," he said. "We want all the traps to be consistent. That one day of rain (last week) hurt us a bit. We're also trying to get more sand at the top of the trap. That's been the biggest job."

Berntson said he can give suggestions, but has no say in pin placements. He said all that is decided by the PGA.

"They want to see low scores here," Berntson said.


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