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Wadkins hopes he's on course to defend title

The Baltimore Sun

Defending champion Bobby Wadkins is all set for this fall's Senior Players Championship at Baltimore Country Club, but he won't have any special knowledge of the historic course.

The fifth major of the Champions Tour has been transplanted from Dearborn, Mich., where Wadkins came back from four strokes down in the final round to win his first major tournament last July. He said yesterday that he's looking forward to the opportunity to hang on to the title even if the surroundings won't be the same.

"It might be easier changing golf courses," Wadkins said at a media event yesterday at Baltimore Country Club. "Coming from Detroit to the East Coast, and being from Richmond [Va.], maybe I'll have some friends come up and do some yelling for me."

Baltimore Country Club is no stranger to big-time golf events. It hosted the U.S. Open in 1899 and was the site of the 1928 PGA Championship, the 1932 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 1965 Walker Cup.

The arrival of the erstwhile Ford Senior Players Championship on Oct. 4-7, with new title sponsor Constellation Energy, will be the second of two golf majors in the Baltimore area this year. The McDonald's LPGA Championship concluded a week ago at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace.

The Champions Tour is no stranger to Baltimore. Constellation Energy was the title sponsor of the Champions Tour event at Hayfields Country Club in Hunt Valley the past four years before signing a five-year agreement to sponsor the Players Championship through 2011.

This year's tournament is expected to draw the most talent-laden field of any tour event this season, said Rick George, president of the Champions Tour.

"Our competition has been as keen as it has ever been," George said. "We've had 12 winners in our 14 events, and the only multiple winner has been Jay Haas, who is a three-time winner. You will have the best field in a Champions Tour event this year."

The Constellation Energy Classic raised $2.2 million for local charities during its four-year run. This year's event will benefit the BGE Community Assistance Fund, First Tee of Baltimore, Kennedy Krieger Institute and Union Memorial Sports Medicine.

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