Two acclaimed collegiate golfers will use the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic to help kick off their professional careers.
Maria Hernandez, a recent graduate of Purdue, and Amanda Blumenherst, a recent Duke graduate, both received sponsor's exemptions to play in the tourney this week at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Hernandez won the Honda Sports award for the nation's top female college golfer in 2009, and Blumenherst won the award in 2007 and 2008.
Hernandez, a native of Pamplona, Spain, won the NCAA women's individual championship in May, shooting one-under par at the tournament in Owings Mills, Md.
Blumenherst led the Blue Devils to the national championship in 2006 and 2007 and recently was named the Nancy Lopez Award winner, an honor going to the nation's top amateur, for the third straight year. A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., she signed with IMG after the national championships and played professionally for the first time in the Wegmans LPGA this past weekend.
"Amanda Blumenhurst and Maria Hernandez are the two finest players coming out of collegiate golf this year," Farr tournament director Judd Silverman said. "Not only do they have impressive playing accomplishments, but they are tremendous student-athletes and role models."
A TICKET IN: For the second straight year, no amateurs will play in the tourney, unless one advances from tomorrow's qualifying tournament which starts 11 a.m. at Sylvania Country Club. Two local players will try to do just that.
One is Bowling Green
native Caroline Powers, who is going to be a freshman at Michigan State in the fall. The other is the University of Toledo's Erica Rivard.
Rivard, who will be a junior in the fall, made it to the sectional qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open last month.
The top two players in the qualifying tourney will play in the Farr Classic.
JUNIOR GIRLS: The Aquafina Junior Girls Pro-Am, a growing event for the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, will feature 18 groups when it kicks off tomorrow afternoon. Each group will play with a LPGA pro. Twenty area high schools will be represented.
CELEBRITIES: Playing in pro-ams Tuesday and Wednesday are Jamie Farr, comedian Tom Dreesen, singer Scott Record, columnist/author Christine Brennan, University of Toledo men's basketball coach Gene Cross, and former UT quarterback Chuck Ealey.
Brittany Lincicome, Stacy Lewis and Nancy
Lopez are among the LPGA pros participating.
Dreesen and Record will entertain guests Tuesday night at the Hyland Group Gala Dinner and Show at SeaGate Centre. For 13 years Dreesen toured the nation as Frank Sinatra's opening act. Record is a singing comedy impressionist and is a headliner in the cruise entertainment industry.
MILITARY FREE: The Farr Classic is offering free admission at the main gate during tournament week to any active service personnel in uniform or with proper military credentials.
TV TIMES: The final three days of the Farr Classic will be live on ESPN2. The broadcast will be from 2-4 p.m. Friday, 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 4-6 p.m. Sunday.
CHARITIES: Twelve northwest Ohio charities will benefit from this year's Farr Classic. They are the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Central City Ministry, Easter Seals Northern Ohio, Gabby's Ladder, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Mobile Meals of Toledo, Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, Rusty's House, YWCA of Greater Toledo, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation.