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$15m sponsorship announced for Texas Open

Valero Energy Corp., one of the nation's largest oil refiners, has agreed to pay $15.3 million to be title sponsor of the Texas Open golf tourney for the next five years.

The deal was announced Wednesday, a day before this year's Texas Open gets under way.

The tournament, one of the oldest on the pro tour, has been in financial distress because it lacked a prime corporate sponsor. It needed a $1.3 million handout from the PGA Tour to be played at La Cantera Golf Club in San Antonio.

``We were as concerned as you were about losing this tournament,'' Bob Greehey, chairman and chief executive at San Antonio-based Valero, said at a news conference. ``We have the opportunity to take this tournament to the next level.''

Greehey said the sponsorship makes business sense given Valero's pending buyout of Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., a refiner and large-scale gasoline retailer also based in San Antonio.

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