|Travelers Championship - June 23, 2009
TPC River Highlands
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 6,837
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,000,000Winner: $1,080,000
2008 Champion: Stewart Cink (262, -18)
Cink Earned Second Travelers Championship
Title with Victory in 2008
Stewart Cink earned his second Travelers Championship title when he won the 2008 tournament by a stroke over Tommy Armour III and Hunter Mahan. The one-stroke victory kept Mahan from winning his second consecutive Travelers Championship.
Both Mahan and Cink are back at TPC River Highlands in the Hartford, CT, suburb of Cromwell this week after both competed on the weekend at the U.S. Open in Farmingdale, NY.
Cink tied for 27th at the U.S. Open, while Mahan tied for sixth. Cink’s 2008 Travelers Championship victory was his fifth since he joined the PGA TOUR in 1997. It was Cink’s first title since his two-victory season of 2004, when he won the Verizon Heritage and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
A year ago at TPC River Highlands, Cink was five strokes better in 2008 than he was in his first victory 11 years earlier. When Cink defeated Tom Byrum, Brandel Chamblee and Jeff Maggert by a stroke, he finished at 13-under. He was 18-under a year ago.
Travelers Championship Notes
Stewart Cink, who claimed his fifth PGA TOUR win at last year’s Travelers Championship, will attempt to become the first player since Phil Mickelson in 2002 to successfully defend his Travelers Championship title. Cink won his first PGA TOUR title when he was victorious in Hartford in 1997. Last year he became just the fourth player to record multiple wins at the event. The others are Billy Casper (1963, 1965, 1968 and 1973), Arnold Palmer (1956 and 1960) and Phil Mickelson (2001-02).
Zach Johnson, ranked second in the FedExCup standings, is playing in the Travelers Championship for the fifth time when he tees it up this week. His best finish was a tie for third in 2004. Sergio Garcia, ranked fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking, is making his second career start at the 2009 Travelers Championship. In his only previous Hartford-area appearance, he tied for 20th in 2002.
Forty-eight-year-old Kenny Perry, who won three times last year and played his way onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team, is in the midst of another solid year in 2009. Of his six top-10 finishes this year was a playoff victory over Charley Hoffman at the FBR Open and a playoff loss to Angel Cabrera at the Masters. Perry has competed in 20 prior Travelers Championships, with seven top-10 finishes.
Vijay Singh is making his sixth start at the Travelers Championship. In his last two starts at TPC River Highlands, he finished fifth last year and fourth in 2007.
Hunter Mahan has been a force at TPC River Highlands. A playoff victory over Jay Williamson in 2007 was sandwiched between runner-up finishes in 2006 and 2008. He has posted scores in the 60s in 12 of his last 13 rounds at TPC River Highlands.
There are nine exempt players with local ties competing this week. They are J.J. Henry (Fairfield, CT), Brad Faxon (Barrington, RI), Billy Andrade (Bristol, RI), Jerry Kelly (University of Hartford), Tim Petrovic (University of Hartford), Jay Williamson (Trinity College), James Driscoll (Brookline, MA), Brett Quigley (Fort Devins, MA) and Brad Adamonis (Cumberland, RI).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
Phil Mickelson is the fourth different player this season to hold the lead in the FedExCup standings. Mickelson, however, is just 7 points ahead of Zach Johnson in a very close race that has 10 players within 500 points of his lead.
There’s another close race going on, too. The race for one of the 10 automatic positions on the U.S. Presidents Cup team is hotly contested as well. Stewart Cink currently holds down the 10th spot, but he’s just ahead of Anthony Kim and Lucas Glover. Glover made a huge jump following his U.S. Open win going from 34th to 12th in the standings.
You would probably guess that Tiger Woods has made the most cuts in succession, 37. Would you have guessed, though, that Charley Hoffman (24) and Hunter Mahan (20) are next in line?
Most improved player this year? David Toms might be a candidate. After finishing 136th in the FedExCup race last year, Toms is currently 14th on the list. He had 22 rounds in the 60s in all of 2008 and has 30 already this year. Here are a few reasons why—he was 72nd in Driving Accuracy last year and is first this year. He was 111th in Ball Striking and is now 8th. He was 135th in Total Driving and is 9th this year and he was 90th in Greens in Regulation in 2008 and 17th this season.
With the victory by Lucas Glover, 13 players in their 20s now have multiple wins on TOUR with two them (Glover and Trevor Immelman) holding major championship titles.
Last year’s leading money winner on the Nationwide Tour, Matt Bettencourt, is starting to find his way in his rookie year on TOUR. After missing the cut in seven of his first 10 starts with a T52 his best finish, Bettencourt has made the cut in six of his last eight starts with a T5 at the Memorial and a T10 at the U.S. Open in his last two outings. He’s climbed up to 102nd in the FedExCup race.
Two Champions Tour members took advantage of a break in the Champions Tour schedule last week to compete in the U.S. Open and made the cut. Tom Lehman finished T47 while Fred Funk finished 60th.
It’s been a year for comebacks on the Champions Tour. Only four leaders heading into the final round have won in the first 12 events of the season.
Bernhard Langer currently leads the Tour in wins (3), Scoring Average, Greens in Regulation and Total Driving. He also has the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup race and has a $529,441 lead in the money race, the largest margin ever after 12 events.
The Nationwide Tour continues to attract top talent from around the world. Ten players hailing from seven different countries outside the U.S.—Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, New Zealand and Argentina—are currently among The 25.
The victory by Lucas Glover in the U.S. Open was the 249th PGA TOUR title won by a former Nationwide Tour player and the 12th major championship. Five former Nationwide Tour players earned Top 10 finishes as well — Ricky Barnes and David Duval (T2), Stephen Ames (T10) and Matt Bettencourt (T10).
Current money lead Michael Sim made an impressive showing at the U.S. Open finishing in a T18 at 4-over.