|Honda Classic - February 26, 2007
THE HONDA CLASSIC
PGA National Resort and Spa
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,241
FedExCup Points: 25,000 Winner: 4,725
Purse: $5,500,000Winner: $990,000
2006 Champion: Luke Donald (276, -12)
The Honda Classic Notes
In winning the 2006 Honda Classic, Luke Donald earned his second PGA TOUR victory in the 113th start of his career at age 28 years, 3 months, 5 days. The win came in his third trip to The Honda Classic. He tied for 21st in 2004 and tied for 30th in 2002.
Matt Kuchar, the 2002 Honda Classic champion, is enjoying the rebirth of his PGA TOUR career in 2007. After losing his TOUR card, Kuchar spent the 2006 season on the Nationwide Tour and earned his way back onto TOUR by finishing inside the top 22 on last year’s money list. Earlier this month, Kuchar posted just his third top-10 since winning The Honda Classic. At the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Kuchar tied for sixth, aided by a final-round, 6-under-par 66 at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Englishman Luke Donald became the sixth international winner in the tournament’s history when he captured the 2006 tournament. Donald joins Nick Price (1994, South Africa), Stuart Appleby (1997, Australia), Vijay Singh (1999, Fiji), Jesper Parnevik (2001, Sweden) and Padraig Harrington, (2005, Ireland) as winners of this event.
Luke Donald will be looking to become just the second player in Honda Classic history to successfully defend his title. If Donald accomplishes the feat, he would match Jack Nicklaus, who won back to back in 1977-78. There have been three multiple winners of The Honda Classic: Nicklaus, Johnny Miller (1980, 1983) and Mark Calcavecchia (1987, 1998).
A total of 74 players in the field of 144 made the 36-hole cut in 2006, which came at 3-over-par 147. It was the highest cut at this event since 1994 when the cut came at 5-over par (147).
Geoff Ogilvy became only the fifth player in tournament history to register a double eagle when he did so in the first round in 2006. Ogilvy’s 2 on the 564-yard par-5 sixth hole came when he hit a driver and an 8-iron approach shot from 180 yards that found the bottom of the hole. The four others with double eagles to their credit at The Honda Classic are James McLean (2003), Tim Petrovic (2002), David Sutherland (2000) and Bruce Lietzke (1980).
There have been nine players to earn their maiden PGA TOUR victory at The Honda Classic:
1974 Leonard Thompson
1979 Larry Nelson
1986 Kenny Knox
1990 John Huston
1996 Tim Herron
1997 Stuart Appleby
2002 Matt Kuchar
2004 Todd Hamilton
2005 Padraig Harrington
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- Fred Funk’s win last week at the inaugural Mayakoba Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun came at age 50 years, 8 months and 11 days. That makes him the fifth- oldest player in history to win. He also joined Craig Stadler as the only player to win on the Champions Tour and then win on the PGA TOUR.
- More on Funk: His first-place check last week boosted him over the $20-million mark in career earnings. He’s the 11th player to reach that plateau.
- While international players have certainly made a splash in the early part of the 2007 season, American players dominate the FedExCup standings with seven of the top 10 hailing from the U.S.
- Through the West Coast swing, Phil Mickelson has missed the fairway off the tee right and left exactly the same percentage of the time. Mickelson missed left or right 14.84% of the time (27 of 182 for each).
- Also through the West Coast, TOUR players have made 33 putts of 50 feet or more, topped by Jarrod Lyle’s 91- footer at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
- The top rookie as the TOUR heads to Florida is Jeff Quinney. The former U.S. Amateur champ is 10th in the FedExCup standings after four Top-10 finishes on the West Coast. Quinney is now #1 on the eligibility list following the first re-shuffle of the season.
- Players in the Top 30 of the FedExCup standings averaged five starts in the first eight weeks of the season.
- Loren Roberts ran his streak of consecutive par-or-better rounds to 29 following last week’s ACE Group Classic. The all-time record is 32 set by Larry Nelson during the 200 season.
- More on Roberts: He has five Top-10 finishes in five starts this year. His worst finish of the year is a T6 at the Allianz Championship, but he’s yet to win with a T2 at the Turtle Bay Championship his best effort.
- Both Lanny and Bobby Wadkins have won The ACE Group Classic following Bobby’s win last week in Naples, FL. They are the second set of brothers to win the same event joining the Hills (Dave and Mike) who each won the same event on two different occasions.
- The victory by Nicholas Thompson last week at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship gave the U.S. a sweep of the two events Down Under for the first time since the 2003 season. Scott Sterling won the previous week at the Jacob’s Creek Open in Australia.
- Ben Bates established a new record with his 193rd career made cut following his 65th place finish last week in New Zealand.
- Six players who competed on the Nationwide Tour in 2006 enjoyed Top-10 finishes last week at the PGA TOUR stop in Mexico--Ryan Armour (4th), Boo Weekley (6th), Cameron Beckman (7th), Stephen Marino (8th), Gavin Coles (T9) and Brendon de Jonge (T9). It was the first Top-10 of the season for all but Armour who had one previously.