Australian Robert Allenby (2000 Shell Houston Open winner), had been mired in somewhat of a slump on the PGA TOUR. A steady performer ...
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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Byron Nelson (1946)
River Oaks CC
- April 22, 2003
Don't be surprised to see a native Australian do well this week at the Shell Houston Open. Over the years, five different Aussies have taken home the title -- Bruce Devlin, Bruce Crampton, David Graham, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby.
In fact, International players in general have done well at the Shell Houston Open. Three of the last four winners were International --Allenby, Appleby and defending champ Vijay Singh. The top three finishers last year were non-Americans -- Singh, Darren Clarke and Jose Maria Olazabal. Shigeki Maruyama and Adam Scott added Top-10 finishes, too.
Hal Sutton's T3 last week at the MCI Heritage Classic was his best finish since winning the 2001 Shell Houston Open. It ended a streak of 50 consecutive starts without a Top-10 finish.
The Redstone GC will play host to this week's Shell Houston Open for the first time. The 7,508-yard course is one of four 7,500-yard plus courses on TOUR. If long tee shots are required this week, the field is ready to answer the challenge. Nine of the Top-10 leaders in Driving Distance on TOUR are entered. Only Retief Goosen is missing.
You don't often see this on TOUR. As late as 4:18 p.m. (Eastern) last Sunday, eight players were tied for the lead at the MCI Heritage Classic.
Four players lead the TOUR in rounds in the 60s this year with 22. Can you name them? Here's a hint, none of them have won yet this season. Here's the four -- Chris DiMarco, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Skip Kendall.
This week's Rheem Classic in Fort Smith, AR will feature a field that includes 30 former PGA TOUR champions who have a collective 56 titles. There were 30 former PGA TOUR champs in last week's field at the First Tee Arkansas Classic, too.
The two Arkansas events present the extremes when it comes to golf courses. Last week's site, the Diamante CC plays 7,519 yards -- the second-longest course on Tour. This week's host, the Hardscrabble CC, is exactly 900 yards shorter at 6,619 yards -- the shortest course on Tour.
Nationwide Tour rookie George McNeill is 6-0, 175 pounds but he packs a wallop of the tee. Last week at the First Tee Arkansas Classic he blasted the second-longest recorded drive in Tour history -- 409 yards -- during the second round. Only Rob Bradley's 410-yard effort at the 2001 Omaha Classic is longer. McNeill currently leads the Tour in Driving Distance, averaging 324.8 yards.
Steve Haskins finished in a T15 last week at the First Tee Arkansas Classic and earned $7,600. With that check, he moved into second place on the all-time Nationwide Tour money list with $666,402. Only Pat Bates, with $844,499, has earned more.
Larry Nelson has not won since the 2001 SBC Championship, but he's getting close to returning to the winner's circle. Nelson has three runnerup finishes this year in seven starts, including his last two.
Bob Gilder had an amazing 23 birdies last week in 54 holes at the Emerald Coast Classic. He finished the week with a winning total of 17-under par 193.
Gilder's win at the Emerald Coast Classic continued a season-long trend. He's the eighth different winner on the Tour this year, the most to start a season since the 1995 campaign began with 10 different winners. It also continued a trend at the Emerald Coast Classic -- he's the ninth different winner there in the nine-year history of the tournament.
When you shoot scores as low as Champions Tour professionals, it's hard to break your career low by more than a stroke. However, Bobby Wadkins shattered his previous career low of 64 last week at the Emerald Coast Classic with a second-round 61. He had an eagle, seven birdies and 10 pars in his 32-29--61 effort.
ShotLink Stat of the Week
Phil Mickelson is often known for his short game. Maybe he should get more credit for his mid-iron game. He actually birdies a higher
percentage of the holes he plays from mid-range than from short range.
176-200 yards birdies 26.1% #1on TOUR
151-175 24.2% 1
126-150 12.5% T156
125 or less 18.8% T163