|Zurich Classic of New Orleans - April 24, 2006
ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
English Turn G&CC
New Orleans, LA
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,116
2005 Champion: Tim Petrovic (275, -13)
Purse: $6,000,000Winner: $1,080,000
- Five players were able to string together four consecutive rounds in the 60s at English Turn in 2004, the last time the Zurich Classic of New Orleans called the course home. A total of 19 players have carded four sub-70 rounds since the first event at English Turn in 1989. The five players to record four rounds in the 60s at the 2004 Zurich Classic were Joe Ogilvie (66-67-66-68), Phil Mickelson (67-65-69-66), Hidemichi Tanaka (69-64-69-67), K.J. Choi (67-68-68-69) and Brian Bateman (67-67-69-69).
- The 18-hole course record at English Turn Golf and Country Club, site of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans from 1989 until 2004, was an 11-under 61 by Paul Stankowski in 2001. Nobody really threatened that number at the 2004 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the last time the tournament was held at English Turn, but four players did shoot 63, and they all did it in different rounds. Danny Ellis shot 63 in the first round followed by Matt Kuchar's 63 in the second. Guy Boros fired a 63 in the third. Vijay Singh took control of the tournament with a final-round 63 to win by a stroke.
- Six players over the age of 40 have gone on to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans—Vijay Singh (41 years, 2 months, 12 days) in 2004; Ben Crenshaw in 1994 (42 years, 2 months, 22 days); Calvin Peete in 1986 (42 years, 8 months, 5 days); Billy Casper in 1975 (43 years, 10 days, 24 days), Gary Player in 1972 (42 years, 6 months, 16 days); and 1965, when Dick Mayer (40 years, 8 months, 17 days) won.
- Tim Petrovic became the 14th player to win his first PGA TOUR event at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, joining Bill Collins (1959), Bo Wininger (1962), Larry Hinson (1969), Jim Simons (1977), Lon Hinkle (1978), Bob Eastwood (1984), Ian Woosnam (1991), Mike Standly (1993), Scott McCarron (1996), Lee Westwood (1998), Carlos Franco (1999), K.J. Choi (2002) and Steve Flesch (2003). Collins and Simons both died earlier this year.
- Five of the last eight Zurich Classics of New Orleans have been won by international players. They are Lee Westwood, Carlos Franco (twice), K.J. Choi and Vijay Singh. Winners of this event over the years have hailed from eight international countries, including Fiji (Singh), Canada (George Knudson), South Africa (Gary Player, David Frost), Spain (Seve Ballesteros), Wales (Ian Woosnam), England (Harry Cooper andWestwood), Paraguay (Franco) and South Korea (Choi).
- The last person to successfully defend a PGA TOUR title on a different course was Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 World Golf Championship-American Express Championship in Ireland and the 2003 tournament in Atlanta. Last year Tim Petrovic won his lone PGA TOUR title at the TPC Louisiana but will defend at English Turn Golf and Country Club this week.
- For the second consecutive week, a player will have the opportunity to defend his 2005 tournament crown on a different course. This week, Tim Petrovic, who won the 2005 Zurich Classic of New Orleans on the TPC Louisiana, will look to defend his title at English Turn CC. The last player to perform the feat was Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 and 2003 WGC-American Express Championships on different courses in Ireland and Atlanta.
- Steve Stricker’s third-place finish last week at the Shell Houston Open was his best finish on TOUR since winning the 2001 WGC-Match Play Championship.
- Australians continue to make their mark on the PGA TOUR. Stuart Appleby’s win last week in Houston gives the boys from Down Under five titles in the first 17 events of the year. Australians have also won two of the first six Nationwide Tour events.
- International players have won eight of the first 17 events this season and that trend might continue this week as five of the last eight Zurich Classic of New Orleans crowns have been won by international players.
- If there’s one player who is especially excited about seeing English Turn back on the PGA TOUR, it might be Steve Flesch. The lefthander won the 2003 title and finished second in 1998 and 1999 on the course. At English Turn, Flesch is 75-under par in seven tournament starts.
- Stuart Appleby won wire-to-wire (sole lead at the end of each round) last week in Houston as did Jay Haas at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. The last time players from the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour each won wire-to-wire in the same week was in 2004 when Vijay Singh won the 84 LUMBER Classic while Craig Stadler was winning the SAS Championship.
- This week’s Nationwide Tour stop, the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs, is the only event on any tour that is conducted in two states. The three courses utilized in the event straddle the South and North Carolina border. Two courses are in South Carolina and the third in North Carolina.
- It might look like an NHL Hall of Fame Induction ceremony this week at the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs. On hand to compete this week are Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Brett Hull. Other celebrities expected to participate this week are Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Catherine Bell and John Elway.
- The Walnut Cove course (the one in North Carolina) was the hardest course on the Nationwide Tour last year, playing to a stroke average of 73.425 (+2.425). It was so difficult in fact, that six of the holes ranked among the 50 toughest on Tour last year.
- Jim Rutledge continues his quest to reach the PGA TOUR for the first time. The Canadian veteran has finished T21 or better in five of his six starts this year and is currently third on the money list with $153,828.
- Despite competing with a very painful knee, Peter Jacobsen has been the model of consistency this season. In his six starts he withdrew once after two rounds, but in the other five outings he finished T8-T4-T11-T4 and T2.
- Texas native Tom Kite will be back in his hometown of Austin this week for the FedEx Kinko’s Classic. He’ll be looking to end a long victory drought in his home state — he’s 0 for 108 in Texas events on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour.
- Maybe it helps to test your game against the PGA TOUR boys once in awhile. The three top finishers last week at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf — Jay Haas, Peter Jacobsen and Craig Stadler —a ll played the week before at the Verizon Heritage.
- Four-time PGA TOUR winner David Edwards will make his Champions Tour debut this week. He turned 50 on April 18.