|HILTON HEAD ISLAND – Without a title sponsor in place for this year’s event, Tournament Director Steve Wilmot said the 2011 Heritage
recalls the “strong sense of community” that characterized the now 43-year-old tournament in its early years.
With that in mind, Wilmot said it was only fitting that the first three sponsor exemptions announced for this year’s Heritage field all have strong ties to the local community.
Local Hilton Head Island product Chris Epperson, Beaufort resident Mark Anderson and former Clemson standout Kyle Stanley, who plays out of Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, will be part of the starting field at this year’s Heritage when the tournament is played April 21-
24 at Harbour Town Golf Links. Wilmot made the announcements at a Feb. 28 Media Day event.
Wilmot said that extending exemptions to players with local ties was “just another way of thanking the community for its tremendous
support” of the Heritage, in light of Verizon withdrawing is title sponsorship after 24 years following last year’s tournament.
A standout junior golfer, Epperson played his college golf at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah and after turning pro,
advanced to the final stage of PGA Qualifying School last fall. He failed to get his Tour card, but the now 28-year-old earned conditional status on the Nationwide Tour where he expects to get a limited number of starts this season. However, Epperson likely will play most of his golf on the eGolf Professional Tour, where he tied for 10th in the first tournament of the year, the Swiftwick Shootout at Palmetto Hall.
Anderson is a Beaufort Academy and University of South Carolina product who is starting his second season on the Nationwide Tour. He posted a T-13 in Panama in the Nationwide season opener, just a day before Wilmot announced his exemption into the Heritage. It is worth noting that Anderson made his first start in a Tour event at the 2009 Heritage as a result of his victory in the Players
Amateur, but missed the cut. Last year, he made 17 cuts in 26 starts on the Nationwide Tour, posting three top-10 finishes, to finish 60th on the money list.
Stanley also posted a T13 finish the day before Wilmot announced his exemption into the Heritage, his at the Mayakoba Classic in Cancun, Mexico. The former Clemson All-American and 2009 Ben Hogan Award winner had made the cut in each of his first six starts on the PGA Tour (through the Honda Classic) after graduating from the Nationwide Tour, where he did not miss a cut in 26 starts last year. He is a native of Gig Harbor, Wash.
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