Turning Stone Resort Championship Notes
Steve Flesch, the 2007 winner, will be seeking to defend his title at the 2008 Turning Stone Resort Championship. The four-time PGA TOUR winner has had a less-than-spectacular season in 2008 (he's 71st on the money list) but has a sixth-place finish at the PGA Championship and a tie for 15th at the Deutsche Bank Championship in his last three starts. Flesch jumped out of the gate at Turning Stone last year with rounds of 66-65-66 and then held on for a two-stroke win over Michael Allen. The victory was his second win of the season and was worth a career-best $1,080,000.
The Turning Stone Resort Championship offers a $6-million purse—easily the highest of the TOUR’s Fall Series events. The Frys.com Open has a $5-million purse, the second highest of the seven Fall Series tournaments.
Five players who were among the 30 players participating in THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola last week are scheduled to tee it up at Atunyote Golf Club. The list includes Dudley Hart, Carl Pettersson, Robert Allenby, Briny Baird and Ryuji Imada.
Chris DiMarco, a native of Huntington, NY, will tee it up at Turning Stone Resort Championship, hoping to step into the winner’s circle for the first time since the 2002 season. Clinging to a spot among the top 150 on the official money list (No. 149). DiMarco has not finished a full PGA TOUR season without a top-10 finish since 1995.
A resident of Horseheads, NY, Joey Sindelar is a crowd favorite any time he tees it up in the state of New York. Sindelar is playing this week on a sponsor exemption. He is currently a member of the Champions Tour, where he has amassed 12 top-25 finishes in 14 starts, is a seven-time PGA TOUR winner—including a two-time winner of the B.C. Open (1985 and 1987).
Another player with New York connections is Marc Turnesa, who has a strong family history in golf. Two generations of Turnesas, including his grandfather and six great-uncles, have played professional golf dating back to the 1920s, while his father is the head golf professional at Rockville Links on Long Island. Turnesa roomed and played college golf with PGA TOUR players Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark at North Carolina State.
Casey Wittenberg played his way into the Turning Stone Resort Championship, thanks to a career-best tie for fourth at the Viking Classic two weeks ago. Currently ranked 12th on the Nationwide Tour money list, he is all but guaranteed of earning a PGA TOUR card for the 2009 season as one of the top 25 players on the money list. Wittenberg is perhaps best known for finishing second to Nick Flanagan at the 2003 U.S. Amateur and then posting a tie for 13th at the 2004 Masters Tournament.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
A familiar name will be making his first PGA TOUR start of the season this week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Brad Faxon, out since the 2007 Wyndham Championship, is back after missing the last year while recovering from knee surgery.
You might want to look for an international player to win this week. International players have won nine of the last 12 events on TOUR, including all four PGA TOUR Playoff events for the FedExCup.
The Turning Stone Resort Championship offers the largest purse of any of the seven Fall Series events--$6 million. This could be a big week for several familiar names who are currently outside the Top 125 on the money list—Jason Gore, Bob Estes, J.J. Henry, Jesper Parnevik, Joe Durant, Chris DiMarco, Todd Hamilton, Davis Love III, Carlos Franco, Jeff Maggert
and Olin Browne.
This has been a banner season for players in their 20s. A total of 12 players still in their 20s have won this year with two, Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas, each winning twice.
The field this week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship features nine players have won already this season on TOUR—Ryuji Imada, Richard S. Johnson, Greg Kraft, Steve Lowery, Will MacKenzie, Parker McLachlin, Sean O’Hair, Carl Pettersson and Johnson Wagner.
Joey Sindelar, one of upstate New York’s favorite sons, will return to the PGA TOUR this week to compete at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Sindelar is currently 25th on the Champions Tour money list in his rookie season.
Larry Mize made his Champions Tour debut last week at the SAS Championship. The former Masters champion finished T27 after rounds of 70-71-71.
Eduardo Romero picked up his third win in his last five starts at last week’s SAS Championship. He’s 51-under par over that stretch with 14 of his last 18 rounds at 70 or better.
John Cook leads the Champions Tour in Top-10 finishes this season with 13, but is still looking for his first win of the campaign. He’s finished in the Top 5 in eight separate occasions with a playoff loss at the Senior British Open his best effort to date.
The Champions Tour is off this week, but returns next week for the final major of the season—the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in suburban Baltimore.
The victory last week by Camilo Villegas at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola was the 233rd win on the PGA TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour player.
The Nationwide Tour is off this week, but returns next week at the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, TX. Last year, Brad Adamonis survived an 8-hole playoff to win over Vance Veazey, Ron Whittaker and Tjaart van der Walt.
Just three events remain to qualify for the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch. Only the Top 60 money winners will advance to that $1 million finale and Cameron Percy currently holds down that spot with $96,118. It’s a very close race for that spot, however, with #63, Esteban Toledo, a mere $1,886 behind.
In the middle of May, Spencer Levin was 131st on the money list and at the end of July was still back in the pack at 58th. Since then he’s posted four Top-10 finishes, including his last three starts, to jump all the way to 22nd and in strong contention for a spot among The 25 and a PGA TOUR card for 2009.