The fourth Xerox Classic tees off Thursday morning.


 

Rochester already has hosted the Senior PGA Championship and highly popular Wegmans LPGA this year.

Now, it is time for the players of the Nationwide Tour to have their turn as the fourth annual Xerox Classic tees off Thursday at Irondequoit Country Club.

Despite being one of the younger tournaments on tour, this year’s event has attracted some of its best players. All of the top 10 money winners and 21 out of the top 25 will tee it up this weekend.

Jarrod Lyle is the tour’s leading money winner. The Australian has two wins on the Nationwide Tour already this year, and one more victory will put him on the PGA Tour.

Lyle, like most other Nationwide Tour players, has PGA Tour experience. Even if he doesn’t win this week, staying high on the money list is key because it can help him earn a spot on the PGA Tour without having to return to the qualifying school in the winter.

Colt Knost enters this week’s Xerox Classic one win away from a promotion. The Cleveland native won the Fort Smith Classic in May for his first career victory.

Irondequoit CC, the Donald Ross-designed course, is one of the biggest reasons why many of the Tour’s top players make this a regular stop. The 6,720-yard par-70 course features plenty of hills and trees to confuse the pros. ICC was the fifth hardest course on the Nationwide Tour last year.

The tournament quickly has gained a reputation for exciting finishes.

In its inaugural year of 2005, Rick Price held off Andrew Pratt to win by one. Price got up and down on the 72nd hole to secure his victory.

Kevin Stadler, the son of PGA standout Craig Stadler, defeated Glen Day by one shot in 2006, a win that vaulted Stadler onto the PGA Tour the following season.

Nick Flanagan also took advantage of the victory this tournament can bring last year. Flanagan beat James Driscoll by one shot, and his third victory of the season automatically put him on the PGA Tour.

Once again, this year’s event will benefit the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, the YMCA of Greater Rochester and the Education Programs of the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

This year’s tournament features a $600,000 purse, with the winner receiving $108,000.

Bryan Sullivan can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 273 or bsullivan@messengerpostmedia.com.