Yet another statistic to underscore the strength of field at the 2014 Shell Houston Open. A total of 17 competitors in this spring’s ...
HGA Academic Scholarship Recipients for 2014 (from left) Jacqueline Phung of Richmond Foster, Hailey Hollas of Richmond Travis, Atiyya Menifee of Houston Carver, Tony Ly of Pasadena Dobie, Martha Parra of Spring and Isaiah Carter of Aldine.
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Phil Blackmar (1997)
TPC at The Woodlands
- February 13, 2003
While Tiger Woods may be a little rusty, his track record at Torrey Pines might indicate that it won't take him long to find his stride. In his five professional starts at the Buick Invitational, Woods has finished 1-T2-T3-4-5. He's 74-under par in those starts with 14 of his 19 rounds in the 60s.
Another factor working for Tiger this week is geographical. In the last 15 years, the Buick Invitational has seen 10 winners who hail from Southern California.
One more on Tiger: He starts this week $1,810,000 behind the leading money winner, Ernie Els. At no point in his professional career has Woods ever been that far behind the leading money winner. After his very first start as a professional at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, Woods was $1,572,255 behind then leading money winner Phil Mickelson.
While the TOUR definitely has its young guns moving in, the veterans are carrying the day so far. The first five winners of PGA TOUR events have averaged 35 years of age.
Mike Weir came close to his second win of the season last week at Pebble Beach. If he'd won there, it would have marked the first time since 1989 that the TOUR had two multiple winners on the West Coast Swing. Ernie Els already has two wins in 2003. Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Jones each won twice out west in 1989.
Robert Gamez has been an eagle machine in the early stages of the season. He already has nine in his first 17 rounds. He had eight last year in 69 rounds.
Second-year TOUR member Tim Petrovic has been a model of consistency this season. He has made the cut in all four starts finishing T15-T3-T43-T13. His first 12 rounds of the year were in the 60s and all but one of his 17 rounds has been at par or better. He's earned $377,703 to stand 15th on the money list.
There were some wild scoring swings last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. There were 16 10-stroke swings from one round to the next during the week. Perhaps the wildest week was had by Kaname Yokoo who fired scores of 82-69-84.
Gary Koch made his Champions Tour debut last week at the Royal Caribbean Classic and finished in a T17. Qualifying School medalist Des Smyth will make his debut this week at The ACE Group Classic.
Koch wasn't the only broadcaster to do well. Champions Tour rookie Bill Kratzert had his first Top-10 finish since joining the circuit. He finished T10 and earned $36,250. It was his largest golf payday since he earned $37,780 for finishing third at the 1985 Memorial Tournament.
When Dave Barr won last week's Royal Caribbean Classic, he became the first Canadian in Champions Tour history to win. It came in the 704th event in Tour annals.
More on Barr: He won last week's tournament with a putter that he's had since his college coach gave it to him in 1971. He used it well, needing only 80 putts over the three rounds and sinking a 35-foot putt on the final hole for the win.