"This is our first step into the pro athlete sponsorship world, and just in time for the U.S. Open,” said the casino’s Clare Galterio. “This is a great way for us to support a local athlete who has already had great success. Hopefully, it’s our foot in door in the sponsorship area for the casino."Francella is a good young player to represent the casino given her winning record since turning pro in 2006. The 28-year-old captured the MasterCard Classis in 2007 when she defeated Annika Sorenstam in a sudden-death four-hole playoff for her first career win on the LPGA Tour. She also won the Lakeland Duramed Futures Classic in 2006. She started this year with a spectacular victory in the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup, a non-LPGA Tour event.
The Empire City logo will be on the side of Francella's cap at Oakmont, where she competes in a field of 156 professionals and amateurs before an expected 125,000 spectators. Pittsburgh's Oakmont has been been the site of 15 USGA Championships. The event will be carried live on ESPN2 and NBC.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo.