July 02, 2008

Oneida Warriors Championship

Golf tournament to showcase Native American talentFor the third straight year, the First Nations Golf Association will conduct the Oneida Warriors Championship, a 54-hole professional golf tournament at Crystal Springs in Seymour. The tournament begins Thursday and concludes Saturday.

A field of 27 Native American golfers, most of them professionals, will compete for a purse of $20,000. The winner's share will be approximately $2,700. In the field are nine members of the Oneida Tribe of Indians, including one amateur—Justin Nishimoto.

Also in the field are up-and-coming Native American pros Shreve Tso of Page, Ariz., who last month advanced to the second stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and Jeremy Harrison of Weston, Fla., who plays on the Gateway Tour (one of professional golf's minitours).
The FNGA's role:The FNGA tour was founded in 2001 in part by Jayson Ray, of Chiloquin, Ore. Ray is a member of the Klamath-Modoc tribe. To be eligible for an event, golfers must be members of a tribe in the U.S. or Canada.

"Our goal was to start a native professional tour," Ray said. "We've grown it to eight or nine events a year. It's open to any native golfer, amateur or professional, of any age who wants to play golf on a scratch basis. Our purses are usually $30,000, but it's a little lower this year just due to the economy."

Ray, the FNGA's executive director, said the tour hopes to gain more national recognition. It is planning to produce a TV show called "FNGA Golf Magazine" that will showcase Native American golfers.

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