John Deere Classic Announces Three Sponsor Exemptions for 2007 Tourney

EAST MOLINE, IL The John Deere Classic today announced it has granted sponsor exemptions to 3 of the nation's top young amateurs.

Jonathan Moore

Phillip Francis

Brady Schnell
Oklahoma State's Jonathan Moore, who won the 2006 NCAA Championship as a freshman; Nebraska senior Brady Schnell, a Quad Cities resident and 2006 champion of the prestigious North/South Amateur; and UCLA-bound 18-year-old Philip Francis, winner of the 2006 U's. Junior, have accepted sponsor exemptions, according to JDC tournament director Clair Peterson.

"The John Deere Classic is very excited to extend this opportunity to play in a PGA Tour event to 3 of the country's elite young players," Peterson said. "We are very proud of our long tradition of showcasing the next generation of great players. We feel all 3 of these players fit that mold."

The 3 will compete against 153 professionals in this year's tournament, set for July 9-15 at the Tournament Players Club Deere Run in Silvis, IL.

It will be the 1st PGA Tour event for Schnell and Francis.

A resident of Vancouver, WA, Moore won the 2001 Oregon State Men's Amateur and the prestigious Western Junior Amateur at the age of 16. In addition to last year's NCAA individual and team titles, Moore won the 2006 Players Amateur with a score of 22-under par, earning an exemption this year into the PGA Tour's Verizon Heritage. He played in the 2006 U's. Open and advanced to match play at the Western Amateur. He is 22.

An Omaha native whose father now works as head golf pro at Crow Valley CC in Bettendorf, IA, Schnell is the top player for this year's Cornhusker squad and recently finished 3rd individually in the Big 12 Championships. Like Moore, Schnell won the Western Junior, in 2003, at Rich Harvest Farms in the Chicago area. In addition to winning the North/South last summer, Schnell won the Nebraska Amateur and the Quad City Amateur. He also is 22.

Francis is one of the more heralded young players to come along in years. In the 51 national and international events in which he has played since 1997 when he was 8 years old. Francis has won 29 times. He finished 2nd 9 times and been in the top 10 all but once. He won 6 tournaments last year, including an event in Tokyo.

A native of the Phoenix area, Francis has been a student of world-renowned instructor Jim Flick since he was a child. The 2 have been on the Golf Channel's instruction programs a number of times and they were featured together in this year's March edition of Golf Digest magazine.

Flick will accompany Francis to the tournament and will conduct the tournament's annual Alcoa Junior Clinic at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the driving range. The event is popular with children and parents alike. There is no charge for admission to the clinic.

Today's JDC began in 1971 as a satellite tour event called the Quad Cities Open. The event joined the PGA Tour the following year. John Deere assumed title sponsorship of the event in 1999.


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