Wayne Stopak Crowned 2009 Virtual U.S. Open Champion

San Francisco - The United States Golf Association (USGA) and World Golf Tour (WGT) are pleased to announce Ohio resident Wayne Stopak, known as NASAGolfer, the inaugural Virtual U.S. Open Champion with a round of 66, four strokes under par. Stopak qualified with a score of 68 and has been a member of World Golf Tour since October 2008. Along with the title, Stopak received a Virtual U.S. Open trophy and an invitation to be a guest of the USGA at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“I’m not sure what the pros feel when they win a major tournament, but I can’t imagine anyone feeling much better than I do at this moment,” said Wayne Stopak, 2009 Virtual U.S. Open champion. “It definitely was the toughest test in golf that I’ve had to face. I’m very thankful to the USGA and WGT for hosting the event.”

More than 187,000 players from 181 countries entered the qualifying rounds with 234 making the cut at even par, 70. The top score of the qualifying round was played by AvatarLee with a 61. The toughest holes of the championship round proved to be 5 and 15 which received more double bogeys than any other.

“We wanted the fans to have a real way to interact with the championship this year,” said Alex Withers, Managing Director, Digital Media for USGA. “The feedback we’ve received has been incredible and we’re looking forward to offering more online opportunities to golf fans.”

“The response we’ve seen from the golf community is gratifying,” said YuChiang Cheng, CEO of World Golf Tour. “We created World Golf Tour to offer golfers the best experience next to being on the actual course. The thrill of playing in the U.S. Open is a dream for many, and now they’ve had a taste of how it feels.”

The pressure was definitely felt by all who made the qualifying cut. Bart6961, who tied for second, attested to that.

“I thought I was going to give NASA a run for it with four under after the first six holes, but the pressure got to me,” said Virtual U.S. Open runner-up Bart6961.

A number of players expressed their gratitude on wgt.com. Among them was qualifier Middle4Man.

 “Thanks again to WGT for the opportunity to play in ‘our’ U.S. Open,” said Middle4Man. “I can't count the times I've played a championship round of golf in my mind, but to actually play a round for something at stake was a thrilling experience.”

The virtual Bethpage Black course can now be played on World Golf Tour’s site (www.wgt.com), home of the most authentic virtual golf experience. Fans of the online golf experience can test their skills on tournaments currently underway such as the People vs. the Pros Open on the virtual Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

World Golf Tour most recently announced it will be adding the Old Course at St. Andrews to its online course offerings in July. Its current courses include Bethpage Black, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Wolf Creek and Bali Hai.

About World Golf Tour (WGT)

World Golf Tour (WGT) offers the most authentic online golf experience, making the game of golf accessible and affordable to all. With its patented no-install HD technology and free-to-play social networking format, WGT enables players to tour exclusive courses worldwide, learn the rules of the game, test equipment, and stay connected with friends. WGT’s partner sponsors such as Pinehurst Resort and Kiawah Island Resort provide exclusive luxury benefits such as premium products, prizes and tournament purses. For more information, please visit www.wgt.com.

About the USGA

The United States Golf Association is golf’s governing body in the USA and Mexico, a combined area that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses. We are passionate about, dedicated to and experts in the game of golf. Based on a shared love and respect for golf, we preserve its past, foster its future and champion its best interests for everyone who respects and enjoys the game. Each season, we conduct the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and 10 national amateur championships, including the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Amateur. The USGA also writes and interprets the Rules of Golf, regulates and tests golf equipment, provides research-based turf management expertise, maintains the USGA handicap and course rating system, celebrates the history of the game and supports grassroots programs through its “For the Good of the Game” initiative.

 

Partner Links
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The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


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Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



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IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

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Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

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Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


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