MIDLOTHIAN, Va., and STAFFORD, Va. –– The Virginia State Golf Association and the Middle Atlantic Section of The PGA of America announced that Delta Dental of Virginia will be the title sponsor of the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia for the next three years.

The 2014 Delta Dental State Open of Virginia will be conducted at the award-winning Ballyhack Golf Club in Roanoke from July 17-19. Delta Dental of Virginia’s sponsorship solidifies the status of the championship, which brings together top amateurs, MAPGA professionals and other golf professionals.

“We are excited about the opportunity to sponsor this longstanding event,” said Dr. George Levicki, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental of Virginia. “This championship has a storied history and we look forward to supporting this special event in the coming years.”

The State Open dates back to 1924 and this year marks the 29th anniversary of the “merged” Opens – prior to the merge in 1985, two State Open championships were held per year from 1958-85 by the two governing organizations, the VSGA and MAPGA.

“We’re absolutely delighted that Delta Dental of Virginia has agreed to serve as this event’s title sponsor over the next three years,” said Gib Palmer, president of the VSGA. “We look forward to working with the MAPGA and Delta Dental of Virginia in the coming years in continuing to make the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia the best it can be.”

“The Delta Dental State Open of Virginia is an event marked on the calendars of PGA professionals and amateurs from the beginning of the season,” said MAPGA President John Madden, the head PGA professional at River Bend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls, Va. “The support of Delta Dental and the event’s visit to Ballyhack will enhance the profile of this championship.”

A national destination club with a Lester George design as its centerpiece, Ballyhack opened in 2009. Boasting numerous dramatic holes and beautiful vistas, Ballyhack lies in the foothills, just below the Blue Ridge Parkway. The layout features many holes with alternate playing routes, placing a focus on strategy, precision and shotmaking. Ballyhack, which will be hosting the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia for the first time, was ranked No. 15 among Golfweek’s “Best New Courses” for 2010.

“We’re confident that Ballyhack will help showcase top-quality golf,” said Jonathan Ireland, the director of operations at Ballyhack. “The layout will provide a quality test and continue to add to the Delta Dental State Open of Virginia’s rich tradition.”

The 2014 Delta Dental State Open of Virginia will consist of 144 competitors, including a field of approximately 72 amateurs and 72 professionals. The event is a 54-hole stroke-play championship. Following the completion of 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties for the final 18 holes.

Notable past State Open of Virginia champions include six-time winner Bobby Cruickshank, PGA, as well as five-time victors Jack Isaacs, PGA, and Tom Strange, PGA, among others. Also among those players to capture the championship on three occasions are Keith Decker of Martinsville and Richmond’s Vinny Giles, who remain amateurs, as well as PGA professional Faber Jamerson. Former State Open of Virginia victors who went on to play the PGA Tour include the likes of World Golf Hall of Fame member Lanny Wadkins as well as Bobby Wadkins, Mark Carnevale and Robert Wrenn.

Last year, central Virginia-based professional Jay Woodson of Powhatan cruised to a record-setting and historic 10-stroke victory. Woodson became the first professional to win back-to-back Open titles since the VSGA and MAPGA merged. He’s also only one of two Virginians to claim back-to-back VSGA Amateurs (2002-03) and consecutive State Opens. Chandler Harper won Amateur titles in 1933-34 and State Open crowns in 1940-41 and again in 1967-68.

Headquartered in Roanoke, with offices in Richmond, Delta Dental is active in the community and a tremendous supporter of such initiatives and events as The First Tee, the Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament and the Delta Dental of Virginia Pro-Am benefiting Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia.

“We believe the championship and our involvement with golf is the perfect complement for what our brand is known for—above all else, a commitment to quality and integrity,” said Dr. Levicki of Delta Dental Virginia.

For more than 50 years, Delta Dental of Virginia has been working to improve the oral health of Virginians by providing flexible, affordable dental benefit plans and building the largest network of participating oral health providers in the commonwealth.

For more information, please contact the VSGA at (804) 378-2300 or the MAPGA at (540) 720-7420.

ABOUT THE VSGA: Since 1904, the VSGA has been dedicated to providing golfers a full range of services for the good of the game and golf in Virginia. Today, the VSGA is comprised of more than 310 member clubs and more than 80,000 members and VIP cardholders, and is committed to offering value and access to courses throughout the commonwealth. The VSGA’s core functions include the administration of the following programs: men’s and women’s championships; One-Day events; Rules of Golf; USGA Handicap System™; USGA Course Rating System™; Virginia Golfer magazine; and the VIP Card.  The VSGA is a non-profit 501 (c)(4) organization.

ABOUT THE MAPGA: The Middle Atlantic PGA Section (MAPGA), headquartered in Stafford, Va., is one of 41 Sections of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The PGA of America, formed in 1916, has grown into the world’s largest working sports organization with more than 28,000 members and apprentices. Its mission is to promote enjoyment and involvement in the game of golf and to contribute to the game’s growth by providing services to PGA professionals and the industry. The MAPGA has been a part of The PGA since 1925, and consists of over 1,100 PGA members and apprentices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The MAPGA provides a wide variety of programs and assistance to support its members, who in turn, provide valuable service not only to their golfing customers, but also to their communities in general. MAPGA professionals assist in raising more than $6 million annually for local charities.

ABOUT DELTA DENTAL OF VIRGINIA: Delta Dental of Virginia is a member company of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation’s largest, most experienced dental benefits carrier providing dental coverage to more than 60 million people in more than 111,000 groups across the nation. Through this association, Delta Dental of Virginia subscribers have access to the most extensive network of oral health care providers in the country.

Today, more than 1.8 million Virginians use Delta Dental of Virginia for their dental health benefits. The company serves more than 3,900 groups, 250 local governments and school systems and more than 27,000 individuals with dental benefits.

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