|Zurich Classic of New Orleans - April 20, 2009
ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
Par: 36-35—71Yards: 6,973
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,300,000Winner: $1,134,000
2008 Champion: Andres Romero (275, -13)
Romero Enjoyed Career Year in 2009, with High Point Coming at Zurich Classic of New Orleans
In only his 12th PGA TOUR start, Argentina’s Andres Romero came from six strokes off the lead at the halfway point and went on to edge Peter Lonard by one stroke to win the 2008 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Because of bad weather, Romero finished his third round Sunday morning and then finished the final round two-and-a-half hours before the last group completed its play.
The victory was the high point of Romero’s career year, where he finished 28th in the FedExCup, earned $2,064,612 and enjoyed two other top-10 finishes.
This is the third consecutive year TPC Louisiana is hosting the event following the course’s closure after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Overall, this will be TPC Louisiana’s fourth time as the site of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Notes
Andres Romero, the 2008 Rookie of the Year who earned his first PGA TOUR victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, returns to defend his title this week. Since his win in New Orleans, Romero has made the cut in five consecutive major championships, most recently a tie for 49th at this year’s Masters Tournament. This season the 27-year-old has a season-best tie for third at the Northern Trust Open.
Louisiana native David Toms made two major changes recently. The first was re-hiring his old caddie, Scott Gneiser, at the 2008 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational after a one-year hiatus. The second was reverting back to his previous equipment company, Cleveland Golf. Eleven of his 12 PGA TOUR titles came using Cleveland clubs. The 2001 PGA Championship winner looks to be back on track after a less-than-satisfactory 2008 when he had just one top-10 finish (a tie for eighth at the Viking Classic) and failed to make more than $2 million in a season ($799,114) for the first time this decade. After nine consecutive years finishing inside the top 32 on the money list, Toms was 131st last year. Toms won this event in 2001 with a 22-under 266.
No player posted four rounds in the 60s at the 2008 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In 2007, Nick Watney became the first Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner to post all four rounds in the 60s (69-67-68-69) since Carlos Franco turned the trick in 2000 when he posted scores of 67-67-68-68 at English Turn Golf and Country Club. Watney is the only player to enjoy all four rounds in the 60s at TPC Louisiana. Watney, this year’s Buick Invitational winner, has been outside the top 25 in only one of his nine starts this season (a tie for 59th at the Northern Trust Open).
Joe Ogilvie was one of five players to shoot all four rounds in the 60s (66-67-66-68) at the 2004 Zurich Classic of New Orleans when he tied for second with Phil Mickelson, one stroke behind winner Vijay Singh. Ogilvie’s only round in the 60s at this tournament since then is a 69 in the first-round of the 2007 edition. He went on to tie for 80th that year.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
• This week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans presents the last opportunity to move into the Top 10 in the FedExCup standings and qualify (if not already qualified) for THE PLAYERS Championship in two weeks. Anyone in the top 58 in the current standings could conceivably reach the Top 10 this week.
• You might want to look for a first-time winner this week in New Orleans. The last four winners of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans claimed their first PGA TOUR career title—Tim Petrovic, Chris Couch, Nick Watney and Andres Romero.
• Tim Petrovic has found the TPC Louisiana to his liking. In his three starts at the course, Petrovic has finished 1st (2005), T7 (2008) and T24 (2007).
• Todd Hamilton will be looking to continue his strong recent play at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In his last two starts, Hamilton has finished T15 (Masters) and T4 at the Verizon Heritage. The T4 was his first Top-10 finish on TOUR since winning the 2004 British Open. In his last two starts, Hamilton has climbed 92 spots in the FedExCup race and is currently 84th on the list.
• Ross Fisher is the newest member of the PGA TOUR accepting Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of 2009. Fisher is currently ranked #33 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
• Danny Lee, the current U.S. Amateur champion, will make his professional debut this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
• Patrick Sheehan will be looking to equal Paul Stankowki’s 1996 record of winning on the Nationwide Tour one week and on the PGA TOUR the following week. Sheehan won last week’s Athens Regional Foundation Classic and will tee it up in New Orleans this week.
• Tom Watson and Andy North will be looking to win their fifth consecutive team title at this week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Not only have they won four in a row, they haven’t made a bogey in 162 holes. North also won a team title in 2000 and 2001 with Jim Colbert, so he’ll be going for his seventh team crown.
• Tom Lehman will make his Champions Tour debut this week at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Lehman will partner with Bernhard Langer.
• How about a little applause for 64-year old Mike McCullough. He finished T7 last week at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am for his best finish since a T4 at the 2004 Allianz Championship.
• Doug Ford is expected to compete this week at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf and if he does so, he’ll remain the only player to have played in all 32 events in the tournament’s history.
• It’s been widely reported, but just in case you missed it, Brendon Todd became the first player in Nationwide Tour history to make a hole-in-one on the same hole in consecutive days at last week’s Athens Regional Foundation Classic. Todd aced the 17th hole in both the first and second rounds. He made par on the hole in the final two rounds.
• The victory last week by Brian Gay was the 243rd on the PGA TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour player.
• The field for this week’s South Georgia Classic features 31 players who have won on the PGA TOUR, including 10 who have multiple wins.
• Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, the site of this week’s South Georgia Classic, is the longest course on the Nationwide Tour playing to 7,781 yards.