June 7, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
For the third straight year, the Canadian Tour will host the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship, presented by Aventis Pasteur, in Virginia.
Play begins on Thursday, June 10 through Sunday, June 13 at the Stoney Creek Course at Wintergreen. Among the field of 156 players are six Cavaliers as well as Lewis Chitengwa's 17-year old brother Farai Chitengwa. Golfers Fred Widicus (1988-91), Jimmy Flippen (1992-95), Steve Marino (1999-02), Justin Goodhue (2000-03), Jeremy Luce (2001-04), and senior Kevin O'Connell (Potomac, Md.) will compete.
"It's great to have older players like Jimmy and Fred coming back to play. They've been grinding it out for a long time, and this tournament is another opportunity for them to advance their professional careers," said Virginia head coach and championship coordinator Mike Moraghan. "Jimmy was in his fourth year at Virginia when Lewis Chitengwa was a freshman, and they were great friends and great teammates, so I know the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial is especially meaningful for Jimmy. For the younger guys like Justin and Jeremy the hope is that this tournament helps to jump start their careers. All in all, its great to have our guys here for a tournament that honors one of our greatest ever."
Widicus, a former team captain and an All-ACC honoree, recently locally qualified for the U.S. Open. He holds Virginia's school record for the lowest round in the ACC Championships with a 64 from 1990. He paced UVa at the conference match, finishing fourth. Widicus enjoyed his best year as a professional in 1998 when he competed successfully on the Tear Drop and Hooter's Tours and qualified for several Nike events, as well as the PGA Tour's Kemper Open.
Flippen, a former All-American and NCAA Freshman of the Year, turned professional in 1996 as the nation's fourth-ranked amateur in the Golfweek/Taylor Made national amateur rankings. A winner of four college tournaments for the Cavaliers, Flippen has continued to compete on the mini tours throughout the Eastern United States. He has won 27 times, mostly one and two-day events. Through 2003, Flippen ranked third on the Triangle Golf Tour's Career Money List with earnings of $ 58,674.
Marino, an All-ACC honoree and team captain, was a starter in every tournament during his Cavalier career. Named the 2002 team MVP, Marino participated as an amateur in the inaugural Lewis Chitengwa Memorial Championship in 2002 of the Canadian Professional Tour where he shot a two-under 282 to tie for 17th overall (70-69-72-71-282). Marino began his professional career in September 2002 with a bang, winning his first two mini-tour events on the Tar Hill Tour for a combined total of $9,500 in earnings on consecutive weekends. Marino had mixed results in 2003 on the Canadian Tour, making cuts regularly but falling short of winning a single tournament for the first time in three years. He quickly changed that trend at the start of 2004 by winning in back-to-back weeks on the Golden Bear Tour and finished January as leading money winner with two victories, one runner-up finish, and over $ 32,000 in earnings.
Goodhue, a team captain, became the latest Virginia golfer to enter the professional ranks when he turned pro after a brilliant summer of amateur golf. Goodhue was one of the hottest amateur golfers in the country over a two-month period in which he won the Hornblower Invitational, the Connecticut State Amateur, tied for medalist honors at the North and South with a bogey-free 36-hole score of 67-66-133, and finished tied for 23rd in the Northeast Amateur. Goodhue began 2004 by cashing his first check as a professional when he finished 21st in the Cobblestone Golden Bear Championship and earned $ 1,150. In 2004, Goodhue will play events on both the Golden Bear and Canadian Tours.
Luce, the 2004 team co-captain, finished 41st at the ACC Championship with a 230 (+14). He fired a school record 11-under par 205 last fall at the Tournament of Champions, finishing tied for second. Luce shot a career-low 67 in the opening round, followed by two rounds of 69. Last summer, he qualified for the 2003 Chitengwa Memorial Championship.
O'Connell, the 2004 team co-captain, will enter his senior season next fall. He recently locally qualified for the U.S. Open. O'Connell paced Virginia in three matches last season, including the 2004 ACC Championship. His best finish was a tie for fourth at the Turtle Bay Intercollegiate, where he fired a two-under 70 in the opening round. He also shot a 70 at the General Jim Hackler Invitational. O'Connell's career low round was a 67 at the Tennessee Tournament of Champions, where he tied for second, in October 2001.
Having won the South African Amateur, the Orange Bowl Junior, and Zimbabwe Amateur three times before turning 19, Lewis Chitengwa arrived at Virginia as one of the world's most heralded recruits. During his time at UVa, Chitengwa earned All-America honors twice, won two college tournaments and recorded the best finish by a UVa golfer in over 50 years at the 1996 NCAA Championships (seventh place).
After his brilliant collegiate career, the Harare, Zimbabwe, native turned professional in September 1998. In eight events on the Tear Drop Tour during the fall, Chitengwa averaged 71.16, finished in the top-10 four times and earned a check in every tournament. His best finish came in the Charleston Championship where his 7-under par runner-up finish earned him $ 6,000. Chitengwa returned home to Zimbabwe in December and earned his card for the South African Tour. In just his second event on the circuit, Chitengwa played the 72-hole Dominion Data Pro-Am in 6-under par, finished tied for 12th with countryman Mark McNulty and earned 31,400 Rand.
In his first full year as a professional in 1999, Chitengwa enjoyed a banner season. He consistently earned checks on every tour in which he competed and finished 18th on the Montgomery Golf Tour of Florida during the summer. He competed in the PGA Tour's St. Jude Memphis Classic and in the Fall of 1999, earned full exempt status for the 2000 Buy.Com Tour after surviving the first two stages of PGA Tour Qualifying and shooting one-under par over six rounds in the final stage.
As a full-time player on the Buy.com Tour in 2000, Chitengwa was steady, if not spectacular. He finished the year ranked 100th on the money list with just under $ 40,000 in official earnings. He averaged under par for the year and recorded his best finish (tied 10th) at the Monterray Open in Mexico.
In 2001, Chitengwa was enjoying great success on the Canadian Tour. He recorded a third-place finish in Myrtle Beach and a seventh-place finish in Victoria, before arriving in Alberta for the Edmonton Open in late June. After shooting 70-67 in the first two rounds, Chitengwa became ill and withdrew from the tournament. On Saturday, June 30, instead of battling for the lead in the Edmonton Open, Chitengwa was battling for his life in an Edmonton hospital. He died suddenly that afternoon, a victim of meningoccocous poisoning, a form of meningitis that attacks the body through the blood stream.
For more information, please visit the Canadian Tour website at: www.cantour.com.