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Pettitt Ties for 25th in Panama; Paisley, Ford Back in Action

Former Tennessee golfer Philip Pettitt earned his first paycheck of 2012 with a tie for 25th place over the weekend at the Nationwide Tour's Panama Claro Championship in Panama City.

Pettitt was in the top 10 through two rounds after opening 69-69, but then finished 72-73. He earned $4,111 and rests in a tie for 58th place on the tour's early money list.

The Panama tournament was the second of three Nationwide events taking place in South and Central America to start the season. Pettitt missed the cut at the opening tournament in Colombia, and this week he's headed to Santiago for the Chile Classic Presented by Pacific Rubiales.

The Nationwide Tour's first USA stop is the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in Broussard, La., near Lafayette, on March 22-25. This year's Knoxville News Sentinel Open Presented by Pilot is Aug. 23-26 at Fox Den Country Club.

Pettitt earned his place on the Nationwide Tour through the PGA Final Stage Qualifying Tournament in December.

In 2011, Pettitt placed third on the NGA Pro Golf Tour money list in his third full season on that tour. He won twice and made the cut in all 17 of his tournament appearances, finishing with winnings of $112,121.50.

He then won his Second Stage Qualifying Tournament in Brooksville, Fla., by five strokes to advance to the Q-School finals, where he tied for 72nd place and earned Nationwide status.

The Murfreesboro native helped the Vols to a pair of NCAA Championship appearances during his 2004-08 collegiate career.

In 2009, Pettitt was NGA Pro Golf Tour Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, another pair of former Vols -- Chris Paisley and Charlie Ford -- resume play when the European Challenge Tour lands in the this hemisphere Thursday through Sunday at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic in Barranquilla, Colombia.

Paisley tied for 22nd place in the tour's opener, the Gujarat Kensville Challenge in Ahmedabad, India, back in late January. Ford missed the cut in that event.

The European Challenge Tour is the European PGA equivalent of the Nationwide Tour.

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