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Carolinas Am gets update

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The prestigious Carolinas Amateur will begin Thursday with a new format - 72 holes of stroke play.

Throughout its first 95 years, the Carolinas Amateur was a match-play competition until the decision was made to change the format this year.

"We have been contemplating this change for several years," Carolinas Golf Association President Walter Todd said in a statement. "As both states will have a match play championship, we wanted to strike a balance with our stroke play and match play events."

This year's championship is being played at Pinehurst No.8. Jack Fields of Southern Pines is the defending champion.

Former long-drive champion David Mobley's radio show, "The Golf Mob," has expanded to two hours. It will air Sundays at 9 a.m. on WFNZ beginning July 11.

The Golf Club at Ballantyne will host the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional national championship tournament Sept.12-15. The top 144 LPGA teaching and club professionals will play in the 54-hole event. The tournament is scheduled to be played at Ballantyne for three years. It is considered the top tournament for teaching pros and club professionals.

Jim Westbrook, former director of golf at Carmel Country Club, has joined the teaching staff at the new Cadillac Golf Ranch practice facility in Pineville.

What do Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson have in common? They're the only two American-born winners in the past 10 events played on the PGA Tour.

The Quail Hollow Championship's commitment to going green continues to grow. At the 2010 tournament, more than 34 tons of materials were recycled, an increase over 2009 and more than 50 percent higher than two years ago.

CBS golf commentator David Feherty will be the featured speaker at the World's Largest 19th Hole on Sept. 2. It will cap off the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship which has drawn more than 3,000 entries for the Myrtle Beach event.

Observations

Charlotte's Corey Nagy will make his professional debut in the eGolf Professional Tour event next week at Irish Creek in Kannapolis. Nagy plans to play several eGolf events while pursuing spots in Nationwide Tour events. He intends to try to qualify for the PGA Tour stop in Greensboro next month and at Sea Island, Ga., in the fall.

Nagy had a 1-3 record in the Palmer Cup matches last month in Northern Ireland but said he had a blast playing overseas. In addition to being part of the winning team, Nagy and his teammates met Quail Hollow champion Rory McIlroy and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who made a quick trip back to Portrush after his victory.

Playing golf for a paycheck is an adjustment Nagy is still getting comfortable with.

"It's different. It's exciting," he said. "Anytime you have something to play for besides pride and ranking, that little green paper makes the world go around."

The U.S. Women's Open will begin Thursday at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh with women's professional golf needing to find its star. There are plenty of really good players, but with Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa retired, there's no clear No.1 player.

Jiyai Shin, Ai Miyazato and Christie Kerr have each been ranked No.1 this year, which speaks to the cross-section of talent on tour but also illustrates the lack of a dominant player and personality.

Michelle Wie remains the most important player in women's golf and if she could somehow win the Open, it would be a huge moment for her and the sport. A Paula Creamer victory - majors haven't been good to her - would also give the LPGA Tour a big boost.

But if Kerr can win a second straight major, that would stamp her as the clear No.1.

Oakmont, though, will be the star this week. It's brutal for the men's Open and, combined with searing heat, it will be a serious survival test for the Women's Open.

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