Buick Championship Notes
The last three tournament winners have been in their 40s. Peter Jacobsen was 49 when he won in 2003, Woody Austin was 40 in 2004 and Brad Faxon was 44 a year ago when he won.
Eighteen of the 54 (33.3 percent) Buick Championships have been won in a playoff, including each of the last two years—Woody Austin over Tim Herron in 2004 and Brad Faxon over Tjaart van der Walt in 2005.
The tournament moves from August to late June-early July for its 55th playing, one week off its future permanent spot the week after the U.S. Open. Beginning in 2007, the event will be re-named The Travelers Championship and, as part of the FedExCup season, will be played June 18-24 but remain at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT.
Brad Faxon tied the TPC River Highlands course record after a final-round, 9-under 61. Others to shoot 61s were Kirk Triplett (third round in 2000), Phil Mickelson (third round in 2001), Scott Verplank (final round in 2001) and missed by one stroke the tournament record of 60 set by Tommy Bolt in 1954 at Wethersfield Country Club.
Brad Faxon’s weekend scores of 65-61—126 were the lowest in tournament history, bettering the 128s by Tom Kite (1973), Dana Quigley (1982) and Kirk Triplett (2000).
Brad Faxon defeated Tjaart van der Walt on the first extra hole to win the 18th playoff in tournament history and the second consecutive in Cromwell, CT. In doing so, he improved his playoff record to 3-6.
Last year, Brad Faxon won in his 22nd appearance in the tournament, recorded his third top-10 and surpassed the $1-million mark in tournament earnings, with $1,009,858. Faxon became just the second player in tournament history to surpass the $1-million mark. Phil Mickelson is the other, with $1,295,320.00.
Brad Faxon became the first player on TOUR to make the cut on the number and win a tournament since Jose Maria Olazabal at the 2002 Buick Invitational. Earlier this year, Chris Couch did it at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The weekend total of 65-61—126 by champion Brad Faxon was one off the best closing rounds total in PGA TOUR history. Ron Streck set the mark of 125 (63-62) during his win at the 1978 Texas Open at Oak Hills Country Club. John Cook matched Streck’s mark during the fourth and final rounds (62-63) of the 1997 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Brad Faxon’s 61 was the lowest final round by a winner on TOUR since David Duval won the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with a 13-under 59.
Brad Faxon’s seven-stroke come-from-behind win matched Padraig Harrington (The Honda Classic) for the largest of the 2005 PGA TOUR season. Harrington trailed Brett Wetterich and Geoff Ogilvy by seven before posting a final-round 63 and outlasting Vijay Singh and Joe Ogilvie in a playoff.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
· Looking for a Comeback Player of the Year candidate? How about Steve Stricker? Over the past three seasons, Stricker has finished 188th, 151st and 162nd on the money list. This year, he has made the cut in seven of eight starts with three Top 10s and is 41st on the money list with $1,065,119 in earnings.
· It won’t go into the PGA TOUR record book, but Memorial Tournament champion Carl Pettersson shot a 59 recently during a friendly round while at home in North Carolina.
· Jose Coceres has played in only four events this year on TOUR, but the two-time TOUR winner from Argentina has a T9 and a T11 to his credit and is 139th on the money list with $280,568.
· The game just continues to grow internationally. The current Top 200 on the Official World Golf Ranking includes players from 28 different nations.· More proof of strong international play — the Top 125 currently features players who hail from 18 countries.
· The Tuesday finish at the Booz Allen Classic was the first on the PGA TOUR since the 1980 Joe Garagiola Tucson Open. That event was won by Jim Colbert.
· Gil Morgan has been on fire recently finishing 7-3-1-T3 in his last four starts. The 59-year old Morgan is now fourth on the money list with $976,459.
· Scott Simpson has been enjoying a strong rookie season on the Champions Tour. The former U.S. Open champ has four Top-10 finishes in 13 starts this year, including two runner-up efforts. He’s eighth on the money list with $606,943. That’s the most money he’s won since the 1995 PGA TOUR season in which he collected $795,798.
· The Champions Tour will be playing back-to-back weeks in Kansas starting with this week’s Greater Kansas City Golf Classic in Overland Park. Next week, the Champions Tour will head further south for the U.S. Senior Open in Hutchinson.
· The Class of 2005 continues to display its strength on the PGA TOUR. Through the Booz Allen Classic, 11 of last year’s Top 20 graduates are among the Top 125 on the PGA TOUR.
· Boo Weekley has not claimed a victory yet on the Nationwide Tour, but his recent play indicates that he’s getting close. In his last four starts the colorful Weekley has finished T5-T16-T7-T3. He’s now 28th on the money list with $80,227.
· More on Weekley: He hit 68 Greens In Regulation last week at the Chattanooga Classic to set a new Tour record. The old mark of 66 was held by Chad Campbell and Mark Hensby. Weekley did not miss a green in either the second or third round.