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The 2005 Michelob ULTRA Golf Tour's National Championship got underway Thursday amidst rainy conditions at Disney's Magnolia, Palm and Eagle Pines golf courses in Orlando, FL. Nearly 500 golfers in 12 flights competed for $70,000 in prizes and the coveted title of Michelob ULTRA Golf Tour National Champion.

All three courses were in excellent condition considering the amount of rain received throughout the week. The Disney staff had the greens in pristine condition and the bermuda rough high in preparation for the PGA TOUR visiting in 2 weeks. Disney's Palm and Magnolia golf courses are host to the PGA TOUR's Funai Classic, set to begin October 17.

The low-gross round for the first day was carded by Jesus Buil of San Diego (CA) on the Eagle Pines golf course. Buil shot a 3-under 69 with a 32 on the front nine.

On day two, Jacksonville's (FL) Justin Hoft set the low-round mark with a 4-under 68 on the Magnolia course. With the Magnolia course being the setting for the final round on Sunday, Hoft felt good about his round, "I hit the ball really well today. Especially my irons. I could have putted a little better, but hey, I'll take it."

Danny Nungesser from Atlanta (GA) shot a tournament-low 6-under 66 on Saturday at the Palm course to take the overall lead from Eric Harjung.

Nungesser chipping on the 72nd hole.

Saturday also marked the only ace of the Championships. Orlando's John Cappabianca holed out with a 7-iron on the signature 6th hole at the Magnolia course for his first career hole-in-one. Cappabianca finished second in the Hogan Senior flight.

The final round produced plenty of drama in all twelve flights, with many champions decided on the 72nd hole.

In the Nicklaus flight, Nungesser stood at the 18th tee on Magnolia tied at 1-under par overall with James Bowery Jr. from Jacksonville. Hoft sat two strokes back, hoping for a birdie along with some rare mistakes from the leaders to give him a chance for a playoff.

Both Nungesser and Bowery placed their tee shots in the fairway. Bowery then uncharacteristically hit a low pull into the left rough about 30 yards short of the green. Nungesser landed his second in between the greenside bunkers on the left.

Bowery then hit a tremendous wedge out of the thick bermuda to around 4 feet from the pin. Nungesser followed with a tentative chip shot to the green that left him a solid 8 feet from the hole.

With Bowery's amazing shot from the rough, the pressure mounted on Nungesser as he stepped up for his par putt. He got set, sighted, shot and drained the putt to finish under par for the tournament.

The pressure now shifted to Bowery. His par putt to tie burned the edge to just miss a playoff.

Every player gave it their all this week and the flight champions truly earned their trophies by besting all the players from across the US in their flight.

The 2005 Michelob ULTRA Golf Tour National Championship proved to be an exciting four days of golf for all who particpated and observed. Next year's championship will be held in the western half of the US and the host course/city will be announced early next year.

Although the 2005 Tour season has ended, the 2006 season will be here quickly, starting with the Duel in the Desert III February 24-26 in Las Vegas, NV. This event is one of the marquis events of the year with 2-person teams competing in 3 formats over 54 holes.

Vegas, baby. Vegas.

Sunday, October 2
All day Players arrive, practice rounds
7-10pm Sir Elford Cup Pairings Party
Radisson World Gate Resort (conf. center)
Monday, October 3
7:30am Sir Elford Cup - Round 1
Shotgun start at both Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses
11-1pm Lunch served
1pm Sir Elford Cup - Round 2 (nine holes)
Shotgun start at both Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses
Tuesday, October 4
7:30am Sir Elford Cup - Round 2 completion
Shotgun start at both Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses
  Sir Elford Cup - Round 3 (following Rd 2)
Shotgun start at both Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses
8-10pm Sir Elford Cup Awards Party
Wednesday, October 5
All day Practice Rounds
Magnolia & Eagle Pines Golf Courses
2-5pm National Championship Early Registration
Radisson World Gate Resort (lobby)
7-10pm Kickoff/Pairings Party & Registration
Radisson World Gate Resort (conf. center)
Thursday, October 6
7:30am National Championship - Round 1
Palm, Magnolia & Eagle Pines Golf Courses
Friday, October 7
7:30am National Championship - Round 2
Palm, Magnolia & Eagle Pines Golf Courses
8-10pm National Championship Raffle Party
Saturday, October 8
7:30am National Championship - Round 3
Palm, Magnolia & Eagle Pines Golf Courses (cut day)
Sunday, October 9
7:30am National Championship - Final Round
Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses
7pm Awards Presentation
Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses