John Deere Classic Announces Four Sponsor Exemptions

SILVIS, Illinois The John Deere Classic today announced it has awarded sponsor exemptions to four up-and-coming young players, two collegians and two professionals.

The two college players are Jamie Lovemark, a sophomore at USC who won both the NCAA individual championship and the prestigious Western Amateur in 2007, and Philip Francis, a UCLA freshman who played in the John Deere Classic on a sponsor's exemption last year based on his sparkling junior record.

The two young touring pros who received exemptions are former Quad Citian Brady Schnell, who turned pro last year out of Nebraska, and former Iowa State golfer Jason Knutzen, who has been playing on the Asian Tour since 2003.

Schnell played in last year's John Deere Classic on a sponsor's exemption and made the cut. This year, he will be in the field with his father, Curt Schnell, who earned a spot by winning the Iowa PGA Championship. Last year, Curt Schnell, formerly head golf professional at Crow Valley GC in Bettendorf, caddied for his son.

"The John Deere Classic traditionally has provided young up-and-coming players with an opportunity to compete against the PGA Tour's best," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "It's a tradition we enthusiastically embrace and one that has brought many great players to the area."

Knutzen, 31, is a Des Moines native who played college golf against Zach Johnson when Johnson played at Drake. The two have remained friends even after Knutzen went to play the Asian Tour in 2003. Knutzen has two victories in Asia - his most recent being the 2007 Motorola Bintan in Indonesia - and has $500,000 in official earnings.

The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971. John Deere, whose world headquarters is located in Moline, IL, assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.

Information about tickets and corporate hospitality is available at or by calling toll free 1-800-336-4655.

The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinois. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $24.6 million for charity
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