|Children's Miracle Network Classic - November 03, 2008
CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK CLASSIC
PRESENTED BY WALMART
Walt Disney World Resort
(Magnolia Course, Host)
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,516
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,010
Purse: $4,600,000Winner: $828,000
2007 Champion: Stephen Ames (271, -17)
Children’s Miracle Network Classic Puts Cap
on 2008 PGA TOUR Season
Stephen Ames put an exclamation point on the 2007 PGA TOUR season and the Fall Series a year ago. He shot a final-round 68 to win the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in the Orlando suburb of Lake Buena Vista, FL, by one stroke over Tim Clark. The win was Ames’ third TOUR title and second consecutive in Florida. Ames also won the 2006 PLAYERS Championship.
The Children’s Miracle Network Classic dates to 1971, when Jack Nicklaus won the first of three consecutive titles. The event has always been held at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magnolia or Palm Courses, or both. In 1994, the Eagle Pines Course was also in the rotation.
Ames has had another solid season, finishing 31st in the FedExCup. He has earned $2,263,397 this season, putting him over the $2-million mark for the third consecutive year.
Children's Miracle Network Classic Notes
Boo Weekley, winner of this year’s Verizon Heritage, returns to the PGA TOUR for the first time since playing for the winning U.S. team at the Ryder Cup in Kentucky. Following the win, and the attention that came with his performance, Weekley appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and dropped the green flag at Talladega’s fall NASCAR race. Since the Ryder Cup, Weekley has also spent time hunting and fishing. Weekley finished the year No. 33 in the FedExCup standings and currently ranks No. 25 on the money list, with $2,388,182—including five top-10 finishes. This is Weekley’s third trip to this event.
Erik Compton, who has overcome two heart transplants to compete for a spot on the PGA TOUR, accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play this week. Compton’s story of perseverance and determination reached new heights last month when he posted a 4-under-par 68 to qualify for the second stage of the PGA TOUR Qualifying School just five months after his second heart transplant. Compton struggled through the first 54 holes (76-75-77) before recording the low round of the day among 76 players at the Crandon Park Golf Course in suburban Miami.
There are four players from the 2008 Ryder Cup in the field: Stewart Cink, J.B. Holmes, Justin Leonard and Boo Weekley. There are also nine players inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking playing this week, led by Cink, who checks in at No. 14
Past winners from this event competing this week are defending champion Stephen Ames (2007), Joe Durant (2006) and two-time winner John Huston (1992 and 1998). There are also five former PGA TOUR Rookies of the Year playing: Stewart Cink (1997), Steve Flesch (1998), Carlos Franco (1999), Charles Howell III (2001) and Jonathan Byrd (2002)
Fresh off his first PGA TOUR win in Las Vegas, Marc Turnesa will tee it up at the Children's Miracle Network Classic with former North Carolina State roommates and teammates Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark. Pettersson won the Wyndham Championship earlier this year and currently ranks 48th in the Official World Golf Ranking, while Clark ranks 40th. Clark was the runner-up in Orlando last year, one stroke behind winner Stephen Ames.
Robert Allenby and Justin Leonard are tied for second on the PGA TOUR this year, with eight top-10 finishes. Jim Furyk is the leader, with nine top-10 performances.
Tom Lehman is making his 15th start at this event, dating to 1984 and his 11th in succession. Lehman has made the cut in 12 of 14 starts and has seven top-25 finishes.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- Jeff Overton begins the season’s final week as the man on the hot spot in the 125th position on the money list. Overton has a fairly substantial lead of $37,737 over #126, Martin Laird. What makes Overton really compelling is that he underwent an appendectomy back on Oct. 21, missed the Frys.com Open but returned last week to play in the Ginn sur Mer Classic.
- Three players moved into the Top 125 after last week’s Ginn sur Mer Classic. Winner Ryan Palmer jumped from 143rd to 74th on the money list while Vaughn Taylor’s T2 saw him climb from 129th to 100th. Jeff Overton finished T18 and made an important one step jump going from 126th to 125th.
- We’d mentioned a couple of times throughout the season how Ryan Palmer’s stats were great, but he was in jeopardy of finishing outside the Top 125. We have another player in the same boat—Bob Tway. Tway is the leading putter on TOUR, is second in the All-Around stat and third in Birdies. He’s also 131st on the money list.
- Tom Scherrer finished in a T7 last week at the Ginn sur Mer Classic for his best finish since a solo 6th at the 2002 Air Canada Championship. It was also his first Top-10 effort since that event in Vancouver.
- Looks like seven lefties will finish in the Top 125 this year. With one event left on the schedule, six lefties have already won at least $1 million with the seventh, Eric Axley, about $100,000 shy of joining Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir, Bubba Watson, Nick O’Hern, Steve Flesch and Tim Wilkinson.
- Who’s improved the most over last year? There are a lot of candidates, but Dudley Hart has improved the most places on the money list going from 176th last year to 28th this year. He’s followed by Ben Crane (180th to 62nd), Ben Curtis (126th to 17th), Greg Kraft ( 179th to 86th) and J.B. Holmes (118th to 32nd).
- Ryan Palmer’s victory last week was the 237th by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR. It was the 20th win for Nationwide Tour alums this year and the fourth in a row.
- The Tour’s leading money Brendon de Jonge took a different approach to preparing for this week’s Nationwide Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch. He spent last week caddying for his friend Bruce McDonald at a first stage PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. Unfortunately, McDonald failed to advance to the second stage.
- Peter Tomasulo enters this week’s finale comfortably in 16th place on the money list and just one week away from earning his PGA TOUR card. He’s had quite an interesting year. He’s made not one, but two holes in one and has a double eagle. Only one other player in the 19-year history of the Nationwide Tour has made two aces and a double eagle in the same season—David Hearn who did it last year.
- Chris Tidland enters the final event as the man in the 25th spot on the money list. He holds a narrow $469 lead over #26, Hunter Haas, in the race for the final PGA TOUR card that is awarded to The 25 top finishers on the money list.
- Jay Haas collected his second Charles Schwab Cup title this past week by a slim 12 point margin over Fred Funk. That’s the closest final margin ever. When Haas won in 2006, he won by 20 points over Loren Roberts. That’s the second closest margin in history.Tom Purtzer won his fourth Driving Distance title this season and second in a row averaging 295.5 yards off the tee. He also won the title in 2003 and 2004.
- David Edwards won his third consecutive Driving Accuracy crown hitting 80.0% of the fairways.
- Ron Streck established a new record for Sand Saves, getting up and down from greenside bunkers 69.6% of the time. The old mark was 65.8% set by Vicente Fernandez in 2000.