The Charlotte 49ers will be represented by three different alums this weekend in the Chiquita Classic, the local stop on the Web.com tour, at The Club at Longview, in Weddington.
Jeff Curl, a Web.com tour member and three-time PGA tour tournament participant, will tee off on the 10th hole at 8:55 a.m. Curl stands 96th on the Web.com Tour money list and has made nine cuts this season out of 17 events. He has placed in the Top 25 twice, with a tie for sixth place at The Rex Hospital Open earlier this year. He has finished as high as second at an event, the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville back in October of 2010. He did not play in the Chiquita Classic last year. Curl finished in 2000 with Charlotte.
Stefan Widergruen will tee off at 9:15 a.m. in his opening round on Thursday. The 2009 Charlotte graduate finished in a tie for second last week at the eGolf tour's Cabarrus Classic at the Cabarrus Country Club in Concord. He has made seven cuts in 11 events on that circuit this season, shooting a four-under 68 on Monday at the Rocky River Golf Club to earn one of seven spots into the Chiquita Classic from that qualifying round.
Former Niner golfer Trevor Murphy will tee off in the last group of Thursday, at 2:15 p.m. on the 10th hole. He is a regular member of the Web.com Tour, with three Top 10 finishes in his career, including a pair of seventh-place ties Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in July of 2012 and 2010. Murphy is a 2008 graduate and was with Wiedergruen as a member of the 2007 team that finished tied for third at the NCAA Championships. This season, Murphy has played in three tournaments, making the cut twice and finishing in the Top 25 in both of those events.
Murphy earned his way in after a playoff Monday evening at Rocky River after shooting a two-under 70 in the early morning.
"To be honest, I wasn't really happy with how I scored on Monday," noted Murphy. "I was hitting the ball well, just not putting to finish. After my early-morning round, I didn't think I was in, so I went to lunch with (former Niner golfer) Will Golden, and then I worked out for two hours with (another former Niner golfer) Corey (Nagy) and went back to check the scores. I found out at about 6:45 that I was going to a playoff."
Five golfers chased the remaining daylight, playing the tenth hole three times to determine who would advance.
"The third time we played the tenth, there were three of us left," said Murphy." At that point, the blood was flowing and it was a little nerve wracking. The birdie I hit made me the last to get in."
Both recent graduates like their momentum heading into the Chiquita Classic. Wiedergruen and Murphy have played Longview before, as former assistant coach Scott Lefevre is a PGA Teaching Professional at the course and has invited the players out there on several occasions before.
"It definitely helps to know these courses," said Wiedergruen. "Having played before at Cabarrus Country Club and Rocky River in college was a big help for me these last 10 days. It's nice to not have to check the yardage books on shots you hit, like out at Longview."
The players were allowed to practice on the course Tuesday, but the Pro-Am event prevented more work on Wednesday. Murphy did not play a full round Tuesday.
"Thanks to Scott having me on the course before, I didn't have to play the full round Tuesday," said Murphy. "Monday was such a long day, I tried to take it easy on Tuesday. It was a good refresher to get out there and see the course, as I haven't been out here in four or five years. Every chance you get to play a course and play balls in certain spots and look at pin placements is good for an event."
Charlotte head coach Ryan Cabbage and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business Darin Spease took advantage of having several former golfers in town and organized a gathering for the current team members to meet these pros at the team facility at Rocky River.
"It was great to see the guys I played with and still follow," said Wiedergruen.
"The road can be a lonely place," said Murphy. "When you get down and get a text from one of these guys or be lucky enough to get a call, it is great to have that support."