Jason Allred makes his first tournament appearance of the professional golf season this week at a venue that's been good to him.

Jason Allred makes his first tournament appearance of the professional golf season this week at a venue that's been good to him.

The 29-year-old Ashland native is in the Nationwide Tour's South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, Ga., on a sponsor's exemption. First State Bank and Trust Co. is the title sponsor.

"I'm excited to get to play this week," says Allred, who arrived Monday morning and participated in a pro-am that same day. "I'm looking forward to it."

The tournament is at the par-72 Kinderlou Forest Golf Club and will be televised on The Golf Channel.

Allred has played in this event twice previously and also played the course in the first stage of Q School one year. He placed sixth in the Nationwide event and placed second in the qualifying stage.

"I really like the tournament, and I've done well here before, so it's nice to come back to a place that you've enjoyed," he says.

Allred's exemption is a result of his relationship with Greg Miller, the chief financial officer for The Langdale Company, a development group that is a principle driving force of the tournament. The Millers have been Allred's host family each time he's played here.

Allred, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., got in a solid day of practice on Tuesday and will participate in another pro-am today.

In Thursday's opening round, he tees off in the last group at 2:30 p.m. local time on the back nine. His playing partners are Roberto Castro and David Lutterus. The group goes off at 9:20 a.m. Friday on the front nine.

Allred played on the PGA Tour last year but didn't finish high enough on the earnings list to retain his card. He was in 23 events and finished 221st — 21 spots out of retaining at least partial status. He was also on the PGA in 2005.

Allred attempted to make it back through Qualifying School late last year but came up short. He doesn't have status on either the PGA or Nationwide tours. To get into tournaments, he must Monday qualify or land a sponsor's exemption. He's eligible to receive up to seven exemptions, says Adam Wallace of the PGA media relations department.

Allred hasn't been in a hurry to get out since the golf season began in January. He and his wife Kimberly became parents for the first time when daughter Annie Claire was born Dec. 12.

Allred's only attempt to Monday qualify was March 30 for the Nationwide stop in San Francisco. He made it into a playoff and was one of eight vying for three spots in the field, but he was eliminated after missing an 8-foot putt.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail ttrower@mailtribune.com