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Will MacKenzie set for Reno-Tahoe defence

Will MacKenzie will bid for a repeat at the Reno-Tahoe Open here this week, while teenager and Tadd Fujikawa enters new territory in his first PGA Tour event as a professional.

MacKenzie didn't qualify for the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, and so becomes the second Reno champion in the event's history to return to defend the title.

Last season, MacKenzie opened with a 63 that included three eagles. He went on the outlast Bob Estes by one stroke for his first PGA Tour win.

Fujikawa will take advantage of Reno's relatively low profile to find his feet as a professional after receiving a sponsor's exemption.

The 16-year-old from Hawaii became the youngest player ever to play in the US Open last year at Winged Foot as an amateur.

Earlier this season, he became the youngest player in more than 50 years to make the cut on the PGA Tour at the Sony Open, where he tied for 20th.

"I've always wanted to be able to compete against the best players in the world and hopefully beat them. I think that's every golfer's dream, to be the best in the world," Fujikawa said.

"I just felt that my decision to turn pro was based on that, and I felt that by turning pro, I can get further in my golf and achieve more and learn a lot quicker."

The Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Montreux Golf and Country Club is a par-72, 7,472-yard layout.

Vaughn Taylor, who won here in 2004 and 2005, holds the tournament record of 21-under-par 267 in 2005. Bill Gleason set the course record that same year with a 10-under 62.

Taylor is not in the field this week, having qualified for the Bridgestone, where world No. 1 Tiger Woods heads an elite field.


August 2, 2007

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