A pair of former Austin Peay State University men’s golfers, Grant Leaver and Erik Barnes, qualified for the Nationwide Tour’s Chiquita Classic, Monday, on different courses.
The Chiquita Classic is being played at the par-72, 7,180-yard, TPC River’s Bend, in Cincinnati. Leaver is set to tee off at 9:00am, Thursday tee time while Barnes is scheduled to go off at 2:10pm, during first-round play.
Call it a significant day for the Austin Peay golf program as its recent success was put on display in the Southern Ohio Section of the Professional Golf Association. Leaver was fresh off his first-ever PGA event, the St. Jude’s Classic, where he missed the cut by only one stroke. This will be Barnes first professional golf event.
Leaver had perhaps the easier qualifying run considering he was assigned to play at Oasis Golf Club, in Loveland, Ohio. That course is familiar to Leaver as it is the site of the annual Xavier Invitational. Leaver’s six-under par 66, fired Monday, was slightly better than his last round at Oasis, a five-under par 67, as a Governor at the 2007 Xavier Invitational.
Leaver qualified for the St. Jude’s Classic through a qualifier in Memphis. He also captured the Tennessee Open in May, months after advancing to the final stage of the PGA Tour’s Q-School in the fall of 2009.
Barnes, meanwhile, happened into the qualifier as bit of luck. His plans to play in the Indiana State Open were thwarted after his entry fee was not processed. His next event was the Waterloo (Iowa) Open, but he missed the registration deadline. That left Barnes scrambling for an event to play when he found out about the Nationwide qualifier.
The Marian, Ind., native was tasked with the Wetherington Golf and Country Club, in West Chester, Ohio, and he finished t-4th with a four-under par 68. Earlier this summer, Barnes finished second – falling in a one-hole playoff – at the Indiana Amateur after firing four-straight under-par rounds, June 21st-25th, at the Country Club on Indianapolis.
Barnes and Leaver are two of Austin Peay’s most accomplished individual golfers. Both were two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference selections and both were named OVC Freshman of the Year. Leaver also earned an All-Tournament selection, while Barnes earned 2009 OVC Player of the Year honors. Leaver also received the Joy Award, given to APSU’s Most Valuable Senior Athlete.