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NATIONWIDE - Panama CLARO Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, February 24th through Sunday, February 27th
SITE: Golf Club of Panama, Panama City, Panama
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jay Reviere (1976)
PAR: 70
YARDAGE: 7,163
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 413 Yds10 - Par 4 440 Yds
2 - Par 4 432 Yds11 - Par 4 502 Yds
3 - Par 4 473 Yds12 - Par 5 597 Yds
4 - Par 5 525 Yds13 - Par 3 189 Yds
5 - Par 4 413 Yds14 - Par 4 417 Yds
6 - Par 3 218 Yds15 - Par 4 422 Yds
7 - Par 4 409 Yds16 - Par 4 432 Yds
8 - Par 3 156 Yds17 - Par 3 175 Yds
9 - Par 4 485 Yds18 - Par 4 465 Yds
35 3,524 Yds35 3,639 Yds
Annual:  8th
Television:  None
Defending Champion:  Fran Quinn
Runner-Up:  Brian Smock
Tournament Record:  265 (Fran Quinn, 2010)
54-Hole Record:  194 (Fran Quinn, 2010)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Tripp Isenhour, 2006)
Course Record:  62 (Fran Quinn, 2010)
Total Purse:  $550,000
Shares:  1st Place - $99,000; 2nd Place - $59,400; 3rd Place - $37,400
2010 Finish
Fran Quinn265Kevin Chappell272
Brian Smock267Marco Dawson272
Tommy Gainey270Julio Zapata272
Mark Anderson272Seven players at273
D.J. Brigman272
Past Panama CLARO Championship Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2010Fran Quinn (265) -- Brian Smock
2009Vance Veazey (273) -- Garrett Willis
2008Scott Dunlap (277) -- Arjun Atwal, Jeff Klauk
2007Miguel Carballo (274) -- Hunter Haas, Jim McGovern, Patrick Sheehan
2006Tripp Isenhour (269) -- K.Gessino-Kraft, P.McLachlin, B.Pappas
2005Vance Veazey (272) -- C.Villegas, J.McGovern, J.Mills, S.Bertsch
2004Jimmy Walker (273) -- Tom Scherrer
Note:Formerly called Panama Digicel Championship (2009), Movistar Panama
Championship (2006-08), BellSouth Panama Championship (2004-05).

Top Contenders in the Field
Fran QuinnT-58mcT-37mc---mcWon
Brian Smock---T-29---------T-382nd
Mark Anderson------------------T-4
Miguel A. Carballo---------WonmcmcT-16
Scott Dunlap------T-60mcWonmcT-36
John Kimbell---------T-18mcwdT-36
Camilo Benedetti---------T-5mcT-1350th
Steve Pate------mcT-18mcmcmc
Nick Flanagan---------------mcmc
Vance VeazeyT-38Won---T-32T-19Won---
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Gavin Coles
Darkhorse - Rob Oppenheim
Last Week's Pick to Win - October 28-31 (Won Joon Lee) - Finished tied for
Last Week's Darkhorse - October 28-31 (Andrew Svoboda) - Finished tied for
The Nationwide Tour travels to Central America this week for the Panama CLARO Championship. A fixture on the Caribbean Tour for years, this tournament was the first Nationwide Tour event staged in Central America in 2004. It returns to its spot as the season-opening event on the Nationwide Tour schedule this year. The 2010 tournament was the only year that it did not open the Nationwide tour season.

Last year, Fran Quinn jumped in front by five strokes following a third-round, course-record 62 and held on to win by two over Brian Smock. Quinn, who picked up his fourth Nationwide Tour title, finished at 15-under-par 265. After smashing the 54-hole scoring record, Quinn also crushed the 72-hole scoring mark of 269, which Tripp Isenhour set in 2006.

Quinn will attempt to become the first player in Nationwide Tour history to successfully defend his title. Quinn played in only three events last year on the Nationwide Tour and did not play after May due to stress fractures in his spine.

In 2009, Vance Veazey made a two-putt par to win a playoff, collecting his fourth Nationwide Tour victory. Veazey and Garrett Willis needed two extra holes to decide the tournament, with Veazey finally ending things at Panama Golf Club's par-four 10th hole. Veazey also won this event in 2005.

In 2008, Scott Dunlap shot rounds of 65-68-73-71 to win by one stroke over Arjun Atwal and Jeff Klauk. Dunlap finished the event at three-under-par 277. Dunlap, Atwal, Klauk and Chris Smith were the only players to finish the tournament under par. The final round scoring average was 73.677, which made it the toughest single day in tournament history and the toughest round on the Nationwide Tour in 2008.

In 2007, Miguel Angel Carballo fired a five-under 65 in the final round to win. Carballo finished at six-under-par 274 for a two-shot victory over Hunter Haas, Jim McGovern and Patrick Sheehan. With his victory in 2007, Carballo became the first player from Argentina to win a Nationwide Tour event. His victory came at the same course, Panama Golf Club, where another famous Argentine golfer won the Panama Open, Hall of Famer Roberto De Vicenzo.

The Nationwide Tour will travel to Colombia next week for the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, where Steve Pate won the 2010 event.

02/22 16:42:45 ET

As of February 22, 2011, at 04:42 PM ET

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