Matt Harmon, who captured the title at the Buffalo Run Casino Classic last month, has received an exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic.
“I missed out on the last exemption by a few hundred dollars, which would have made a lot of people down on themselves,” Harmon said in an NGA Hooters Tour press release. “I knew if I stuck to my goals at the beginning of the season and kept playing the way I was playing then good things were going to happen. I just want to thank the NGA Hooters Tour and the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic committee for giving me this opportunity.”
The exemption into the third annual Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic, which will be July 12-14 in Lora Bay Ontario, is the fifth this season for Hooters Tour players.
The others are The Fresh Express Classic, The Fort Smith Classic, The Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, The News Sentinel Knoxville Open and The Chattanooga Classic.
Harmon jumped into the top spot on the Hooters Tour’s money list after collecting his fourth career win here.
Harmon began the season with two missed cuts but the former Michigan State All-American has made eight straight cuts. His two wins (including the 2010 Crystal Lake Open in Hampton, Ga.) and two other top 10 finishes has run his season earnings to$79,765.
Harmon posted the second lowest score in tournament history. His final-round 69 gave him a four-day total of 25-under par 263.
Although a relatively new tournament, The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic has been a stepping stone for former NGA Hooters Tour players in realizing their dream of playing on the PGA Tour. Past champions include NGA Hooters Tour alumni Justin Hicks (2008) and Roger Tambellini (2009).
“The No. 1 goal of The NGA Hooters Tour has always been, and always will be to help professional golfers achieve their dream of playing on The PGA Tour,” NGA Hooters Tour president Robin L. Waters said. “We are pleased to give Matt this opportunity to fulfill his dream of playing on the PGA Tour and we wish him the best of luck in Canada in a few weeks.”
With two events remaining, Harmon also is the leader in the Wichita Open exemption. Harmon has earned $31,523 compared to $30,000 for Michael Lavery.
Still remaining are stops at Pearland, Texas, and Victoria, Texas.
The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung provides fans with the opportunity to watch 160 professionals play with celebrities in a pro-am style tournament.
As an official Nationwide Tour stop, players compete for one of the year's largest purses ($800,099.00) with all rounds televised on The Golf Channel.
Georgian Bay Club and The Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay play host with proceeds benefiting the Wayne Gretzky Foundation.