|Verizon Heritage Classic - April 10, 2006
Harbour Town GL
Hilton Head, SC
Par: 36-35—71Yards: 6,973
2005 Champion: Peter Lonard (277, -7)
Purse: $5,300,000Winner: $954,000
VERIZON HERITAGE NOTES
Peter Lonard became the first Australian player to win the tournament since Greg Norman in 1988 and the first international player since Argentina's Jose Coceres in 2001.
A year ago, Peter Lonard tied the first-round course record with a career-best, 9-under 62 (first set by Davis Love III in 2002). His 62 topped the previous best low start by a winner by three strokes (65 by Graham Marsh in 1977 and tied by five others). Lonard’s score also set the tournament record for high finish by a winner with his final-round, 4-over 75. Arnold Palmer shot a 3-over 74 in the final round when he won the 1969 tournament.
Peter Lonard’s 7-under 277, 72-hole total in 2005 was the highest winning score at the Verizon Heritage since Tom Watson won with a score of 4-under 280 in 1980.
The final-round, 4-over 75 by 2005 champion Peter Lonard was the high round by a winner on the 2005 PGA TOUR and highest on the TOUR since Vijay Singh’s closing 76 at the 2004 PGA Championship.
Defending champion Peter Lonard will be looking to keep a 12-year streak intact. No defending champion has missed the cut at the Verizon Heritage since Davis Love III in 1993.
The cumulative field scoring average for the 2005 tournament, 73.246, was the highest in the history of the event since statistics were first kept in 1983. Only 16 players finished the tournament with sub-par totals. The previous highest scoring average at the par-72 Harbour Town was 72.757 in 1986. That year, only 18 players were under par after 72 holes.
David Frost set the PGA TOUR’s all-time 72-hole putting record with 92 total putts over four days at Harbour Town last year. The old mark was also set at Harbour Town when Kenny Knox had just 93 total putts in the 1989 MCI Heritage Classic (matched by Mark Calcavecchia at the 2002 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic). Frost one-putted his first 11 greens Thursday and had 49 total one-putts for the week, along with 20 two-putts and two holes where he didn’t putt. His lone three-putt of the tournament came on the third hole in the second round. Only one of Frost’s rounds was under par (68/first round) and he tied for 38th.
Tommy Armour III led the field with 20 putts during Thursday opening round. That was two off the PGA TOUR record of 18 set by Sam Trahan at the 1979 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic. The record was matched by five others, including Kenny Knox at Harbour Town in 1989.
Davis Love III’s tie for second at Harbour Town in 2005 was his 11th top-10 at the Verizon Heritage and moved him out of a tie with Tom Kite for the most top-10s in event history. It was Love’s 27th runner-up showing on the PGA TOUR.
Although there have been 11 holes-in-one at Harbour Town Golf Links in the first 37 years, there has not been one since 1996, when Blaine McCallister and Jeff Sluman each had one.
A year ago, Jay Haas made his 23rd cut in 29 appearances at Harbour Town. This week Haas will be looking to match Hale Irwin’s record of 24 cuts made at the Verizon Heritage.
- Here’s one reason why Phil Mickelson has been so hot lately —he’s currently first in Greens in Regulation and second in Putting. That’s a pretty strong combination.
- More on Mickelson: When he won the BellSouth Classic two weeks ago, he played the par-4 holes in 17-under par. Since the TOUR started keeping records in 1983 in this area, that one tournament total has only been surpassed once — by Tommy Armour III (-19) at the 2003 Valero Texas Open where he set the TOUR’s all-time scoring mark of 254 for 72 holes.
- One more on Phil: While he won in Atlanta by dominating the par 4s, he won this past week by having a tournament-best 13-under par effort on Augusta’s par 5s.
- While this week’s site, Harbour Town GL, is one of the shortest
courses on TOUR at just 6,973 yards, it isn’t easy. In fact, Harbour Town was the fourth- hardest course on TOUR last year playing 2.241 strokes over par.
- Look for a former major champion to win this week at the Verizon Heritage. Of the previous 37 winners of this event, only nine are without a major championship to their credit.
- The current Top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking hail from 22 countries with the U.S. leading the way with 42. Australia is second with 12, followed by England (11), South Africa (six) and Sweden (five).
- Since the start of the 1970 season, a player has entered the final round with a seven- stroke (or more) lead 24 times, but it has happened four times in just the last 14 months.
- It used to be widely believed that your Champions Tour career was over by age 60. Not any more. In fact, three players — Isao Aoki, Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan — are all among the Top 30 money winners and each is 60 or more.
- Gil Morgan has not won in his last 53 starts, but it’s not like he hasn’t been playing well. During that span, Morgan has 22 Top-10 finishes, including 11 Top 3s.
- With seven tournaments down in 2006, Hale Irwin is still seeking his first win of the year. The longest Irwin has gone without a victory at the start of the season is 10 starts. That happened in the 2000 season and he ended the year with four victories.
- The Champions Tour is off this week, but four members will be competing at the Verizon Heritage on the PGA TOUR. Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen, Loren Roberts and Craig Stadler will all play at Harbour Town this week.
- Three players have played in all 20 rounds so far this year —Ryan Armour, Jim McGovern and Johnson Wagner.
- Proving there are lots of ways to get it done, Josh Broadaway, who plays cross-handed, is 10th on the Tour in Driving Distance at 302.3 yards.
- Speaking of distance, of the 18 players on the PGA TOUR who are averaging 300 yards or more off the tee, 11 are former Nationwide Tour players, including Bubba Watson who leads the TOUR with a 319.3 average.
- Former Nationwide Tour players have won every event on TOUR with the exception of the Chrysler Championship (which has only been played five times) and the Masters. Tim Clark’s runner-up finish at Augusta was the seventh such finish at the Masters by an alumnus in the last 12 years.