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After Earning Rave Reviews in its Debut, Fallen Oaks Welcomes Back Legends of the Game 
Tom Fazio-Designed Masterpiece Provided Stellar Test to Champions Tour Players

From: Beau Rivage news release   3/7/11    Filed  GCN - 3/7/11

BILOXI, Miss. – February 28, 2011 – Peter Jacobsen mentioned it in the same sentence as Pebble Beach and Augusta National. Loren Roberts said it could host a major championship. Ben Crenshaw, himself a noted architect, called it “an honest golf course.” And Jay Haas said it is in “the top five” of the host courses on the Champions Tour.

In 2010, Fallen Oak was more than ready for its close-up among the game’s legends. Now, the highly regarded, award-winning Tom Fazio masterpiece is ready for its encore. For the second time, the Champions Tour’s mainstays will test their games at Fallen Oak March 28-April 3 for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

“We are proud to host this spectacular tournament again and look forward to welcoming the Champions Tour professionals back to Fallen Oak,” said George P. Corchis, Jr., MGM Resorts  International’s president and chief operating officer of regional operations. “The MGRC has quickly become one of the region’s signature sporting events and provides a tremendous boost to the Mississippi Gulf Coast tourism industry.”

Once again, many of the game’s most decorated players will find a course not only in pristine condition, but a course among the most decorated they play all year. Fallen Oak earned its 20th national award in 2010 – four years after it opened in November 2006. “Fallen Oak is exciting. It’s an exciting golf course to play: demanding, fun, tough. It’s exciting to play all the great golf courses we play out here, like Pebble Beach, Augusta National and Fallen Oak,” Jacobsen said after the 2010 Classic. For Jacobsen to drop Pebble Beach’s name in the same sentence as Fallen Oak is not lost on the raters of Golf Digest Magazine. Pebble Beach (No. 1) was the only Champions Tour course rated ahead of Fallen Oak (No. 19) among America’s Greatest 100 Courses You Can Play.

“It’s an honest golf course. There’s a good mix of holes: long par-3s, short par-3s, a drivable par-4. But all the holes are filled with quality,” Crenshaw said.

“There’s a lot to deal with here because it’s a real good test of golf. It’s quality.”

Fallen Oak’s quality is such that Champions Tour officials haven’t had to create more work for Director of Grounds Matt Hughes and his staff. Both received high praise from players and fans alike after the 2010 event for the course’s condition. “Condition-wise, the strength of the layout, this is easily in the top-five – if not the best course – we play all year,” said Haas (T19 in 2010).The biggest challenge for Hughes and his staff is once again, maintaining Fallen Oak’s numerous and notorious bunkers.

Fazio designed every bunker with a purpose and it’s up to Hughes and Co. to ensure the purpose remains consistent with not only Fazio’s design, but with the Champions Tour course management team. “The course is in incredible shape and it’s not out of line with where we normally maintain it,” Hughes said. “What the Champions Tour staff is most interested in seeing is how we handle the bunkers to prevent buried lies and keeping the rough consistent. But we learned how they wanted things last year, so this is much easier to manage.”

Last year, David Eger managed Fallen Oak better than his fellow Champions Tour pros. His winning score of 11-under-par 205 for three rounds was one of 27 scores of par or better among the 75 players who finished all three rounds. Barely a third of the field shot par or better over 54 holes, yet Fallen Oak stood tall in the eyes of the players “It sets up really nicely. It’s a very good golf course. It’s right up there with all the best courses we play out here. This is a good test of golf and that’s what you look for out here,” said John Cook (T39 in 2010). “We came off a very cold winter last year and while we knew the players would love the site and conditions, we weren’t sure how much of a test it would provide these guys,”

Fallen Oak General Manager David Stinson said. “But they not only found a true test of golf, but our infrastructure held up tremendously, even with the rainy and windy weather we had on Sunday.” Stinson said last year that his fondest hope was that the players he and many of the fans lining Fallen Oak’s fairways and greens grew up watching would say Fallen Oak was one of the finest courses they played all year.

 He was not disappointed.

“You could hold a major championship on this course. All you have to do is grow the rough up a little,” said Roberts, who finished T12 at 4-under-par last year. “I think they did a very nice job getting it in shape for the inaugural tournament and I know they’ll work on improving it – if that’s possible – in the coming years,” said Bernhard Langer (T39 last year), the three-time reigning Champions Tour Player of the Year. And once the Champions Tour pros are finished with their test, Fallen Oak remains one of the pristine and must-play golfing destination in the United States.

Joining the heralded Shadow Creek as the only golf courses built by MGM Resorts International for their guests, Fallen Oak is located on a 510-acre tract at the edge of the DeSoto National Forest. Stretching to a hearty 7,487 yards from the back tees, Fallen Oak offers golfers five sets of tees and strategic play options as each hole winds through ever-changing terrain and environments.
 
Fallen Oak is available exclusively for guests of Beau Rivage. Greens fees for this elite MGM MIRAGE golf experience are $200. To make reservations, call (877) 805-4657 or visit www.beaurivage.com

ABOUT BEAU RIVAGE:

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, named one of the top 100 hotels in the continental United States and Canada by Travel + Leisure, is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The resort features 1,740 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, 10 restaurants, four nightclubs and bars, a 1,550-seat theatre, an upscale shopping promenade, a world-class spa & salon and Fallen Oak, a Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course. Beau Rivage is a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts International, one of the world's leading global hospitality companies. For more information or to make reservations, call (888) 56-ROOMS or visit www.beaurivage.com
 

ABOUT FAZIO GOLF COURSE DESIGNERS:

Throughout his 40 years in golf course design, Tom Fazio and his staff of talented designers have been recognized for creating award-winning courses throughout the United States. No living designer has more credits on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and Golfweek’s collection of America’s Best. The Golf Digest poll for Best Modern Day Golf Course Architect was discontinued after Tom claimed the award three consecutive times, and he has also received The Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. 

ABOUT MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is one of the world's leading global hospitality companies, operating a peerless portfolio of destination resort brands, including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage.  The Company has significant holdings in gaming, hospitality and entertainment, owns and operates 15 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan, and has 50% investments in four other properties in Nevada, Illinois and Macau. One of those investments is CityCenter, an unprecedented urban resort destination on the Las Vegas Strip featuring its centerpiece ARIA Resort & Casino.  Leveraging MGM Resorts’ unmatched amenities, the M life loyalty program delivers one-of-a-kind experiences, insider privileges and personalized rewards for guests at the Company’s renowned properties nationwide. Through its hospitality management subsidiary, the Company holds a growing number of development and management agreements for casino and non-casino resort projects around the world.  MGM Resorts International supports responsible gaming and has implemented the American Gaming Association's Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming at its gaming properties. The Company has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions for its industry-leading Diversity Initiative, its community philanthropy programs and the Company's commitment to sustainable development and operations.  For more information about MGM Resorts International, visit the Company's Web site at
www.mgmresorts.com

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