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Former Masters champ joins young hopefuls for LECOM Challenge

Two former champions will be in the field Thursday for the start of the LECOM Health Challenge at Peek'n Peak Resort in Findley Lake.

The biggest name on the tournament roster, though, is former U.S. Open (2007) and Masters (2009) champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina.

Most of the Korn Ferry Tour players are up-and-coming young hopefuls. However, PGA pros 48 and 49 years of age who have lost their Tour exemption are allowed to compete on the developmental tour to sharpen their game for when they become eligible for the PGA Champions Tour.

That's where Cabrera comes in, along with two other PGA Tour members who are 48 or 49 years old — Mark Hensby and Dicky Pride.

Cabrera, who is 49, has played in five of the 18 Korn Ferry events this year, missing the cut in four, including last week in Utah. He has played just twice on the main PGA Tour in 2019, missing the cut at the Puerto Rico Open and the Masters, where he can play for another decade or so. He has career earnings of $14.7 million in pro golf.

This is the fourth year for the LECOM as a stop on the recently renamed Korn Ferry Tour, the developmental tour of the PGA. Total purse for the tournament is $600,000 with $108,000 going to the winner.

Rick Lamb, who won the initial tournament in 2016, and Nelson Ledesma, last year's champions, are listed in the field of 144.

Lamb won his title in dramatic fashion in 2016 when he shot 9-under 63 in the final round to tie for the lead after 72 holes then won a four-man playoff by chipping in for a birdie on the second extra hole. Rhein Gibson, one of the runners-up to Lamb in 2016, is in this year's field.

Lamb had to play his way into the field in 2016 via the Monday qualifier.

Ledesma of Argentina shot 67 in his final round last year to win with a 266. He had a two-stroke margin over Sebastian Munoz and Kyle Jones.  Ledesma has been solid on the tour this year with four top-10 finishes. He is 20th on the Korn Ferry earning list.

Thirteen pros who have won Korn Ferry events this season will compete at Peek'n Peak, including Robby Shelton, who won tournaments in Nashville and Knoxville and has a runner-up finish.

Shelton shot 69-72-66 in the LECOM last year before falling out of contention with a 75 in the final round.

The LECOM is one of only six tournaments left in the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour’s regular season. The top 25 points earners get PGA Tour membership cards as do the top 25 from a season-ending three-event tour finals points list.

Last month, the developmental tour announced it had reached a 10-year sponsorship agreement with Korn Ferry, a Los Angeles global consulting firm.

The developmental tour began in 1990 and has been known as the Hogan, Nike,, Nationwide and most recently the Tour.

Admission for all four days of the tournament is free. VIP tickets at $75 each for each day of the tournament are available and allow admission to the Lake Shore Savings VIP Tent.

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