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Nationwide Tour Event Back at Empire Lakes

James Oh of Lakewood will try to defend his title in the Nationwide Tour Mark Christopher Charity Classic beginning today at Empire Lakes Golf Club in Rancho Cucamonga, but he isn’t on quite the same roll as he was when he won it last year.

Oh, 22, has made only one cut in 14 Nationwide Tour events this year and that came in April, when he tied for 58th at a tournament in Arkansas. He is No. 327 on the season money list with $1,513.

Last year, Oh won $81,000 and became the youngest winner of a Nationwide Tour event. In five events leading into that tournament, Oh won three times and finished second once.

Also playing this week is Kevin Stadler, a USC graduate whose father, Craig, plays on the Champions Tour. Kevin Stadler has won twice on the Nationwide Tour this year and a third victory would give him an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour.

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Tour money leader Jimmy Walker and D.A. Points, second on the money list, are other two-time winners a victory away from the so-called “battlefield promotion.” Ricky Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, is playing as a sponsor exemption.

With four tournaments remaining after this week, the players are jockeying for position on the money list. The top 20 at the end of the season earn PGA tour cards.

The Charity Classic, a 72-hole event, runs through Sunday.

-- Peter Yoon

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