|AT&T National - June 29, 2009
Congressional Country Club (Blue)
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,255
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,200,000Winner: $1,116,000
2008 Champion: Anthony Kim (268, -12)
Kim Defends at AT&T National
as World's No. 1 Woods Both Plays and Hosts
Anthony Kim played from behind throughout the 2008 AT&T National, trailing by two strokes after 18 holes and was three off the pace at both the midway point and going into the final round. But a Sunday 65 moved Kim past five players and gave him a two-stroke victory over Fredrik Jacobson. It was Kim’s second win of 2008 (he also won the Wachovia Championship) and helped him to a fourth-place finish in the FedExCup. Kim also finished sixth on the money list ($4,656,265) and represented the U.S. at the Ryder Cup.
This is the third year of the Tiger Woods-hosted tournament at Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course, and Woods, who missed the 2008 tournament because of knee surgery, is in the field this week playing a dual role as both host and competitor. In 2007, Woods tied for sixth in his only appearance in the tournament.
Kim has yet to win in 2009 but did tie for second at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, and he’s coming off a tie for 11th at last week’s Travelers Championship. He is 45th in the FedExCup.
AT&T National Notes
Six of Anthony Kim’s eight career rounds at Congressional Country Club have been in the 60s, including rounds of 67-67-69-65 a year ago during his victory.
Tiger Woods is serving as host and competitor this week, joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only players in the same week to have hosted and competed in an official PGA TOUR event. Woods missed last year’s event due to knee surgery but has rebounded with two wins and seven top-10s in eight starts in 2009.
Steve Stricker who won earlier this year at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, claimed his first career PGA TOUR title at nearby TPC Avenel in 1996. In two starts at the AT&T National, Stricker’s best finish was a tie for seventh in 2007.
New Zealander Danny Lee will make his first appearance at the AT&T National, exempt into the tournament as the previous year’s U.S. Amateur champion. He won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia on the European Tour. Since turning pro, Lee has made three of seven cuts and has one top-25 finish—at the HP Byron Nelson Championship (tied for 13th).
Steve Marino, who grew up in nearby Fairfax, VA, is making his third appearance at the AT&T National. Marino held the first-round lead last year and eventually tied for 24th, his best finish at the event. In 2009, Marino has recorded three top-10 finishes, including a playoff loss at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Champions Tour player Fred Funk, who most recently made the cut at the U.S. Open, is a Takoma Park, MD, native who is making his third appearance at the tournament. He finished second last week at the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Tom Pernice, Jr., set the tournament course record with a 7-under-par 63 in the second round last year. The low score at Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course at previous PGA TOUR co-sponsored events was a 63 set by Matt Gogel at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic when the course routing was different and it played to a par 71.
Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course played to a first-round stroke average of 71.286 a year ago and was increasingly easier each day. The second-round scoring average was 70.191, followed by a third-round 69.651 and final-round 69.338.
The Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am will take place Wednesday, July 1, with celebrities Bruce Boudreau, Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El and Tony Romo competing. Tournament host Tiger Woods will play with Romo, the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
This is the third consecutive week with a new leader in the FedExCup standings. Kenny Perry took over the top spot from Phil Mickelson thanks to his victory last week at the Travelers Championship. Mickelson had assumed the lead the previous week from Zach Johnson.
More FedExCup: Kenny Perry’s lead of 212 points over Zach Johnson is the largest lead anyone has held since Geoff Ogilvy had a 437 point lead after week nine of the season.
With his victory last week, Kenny Perry became the eighth player in TOUR history to top the $30 million mark in career earnings.
If the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup began today, the field of 125 would include 39 players from 13 countries outside the U.S. and 23 who have won 47 major championships.
U.S. Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples will tee it up this week at the AT&T National at Congressional. It was 26 years ago that Couples won his first PGA TOUR title at the Kemper Open held at Congressional. He’s not at the A&T National this week, but Couples’ opposing captain for the upcoming Presidents Cup matches, Greg Norman, also won the Kemper Open when it was played at Congressional.
He may be flying under the radar screen, but Jason Dufner is very quietly having a very good season. He’s earned four Top-10 finishes in his last 11 starts after recording two in the first 84 starts of his career. He’s made the cut in 13 of 16 events and is 44th in the FedExCup standings.
Another player having a strong season is Kevin Na. He’s had six Top-10s and nine Top 25 finishes in his 16 starts this year. He’s currently 19th in the FedExCup standings. Despite being just 25 years old, Na is in his seventh season on the PGA TOUR.
Ronnie Black finished in a T2 last week at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open for his best finish on any Tour since a solo second at the 1989 Centel Classic on the PGA TOUR.
Fred Funk may hail from Maryland, but he’s found a home in Endicott, NY. He won the B.C. Open on the PGA TOUR when it was played there in 1996 and was twice the runner-up as well. He finished T2 at the Champions Tour’s Dick’s Sporting Goods Open there last week.
The Champions Tour is off this week, but returns next week in Minnesota for the 3M Championship at the TPC Twin Cities.
You have to admire players who keep playing hard even after playing poorly in the first round of a tournament. Last week at the Nationwide Tour Players Cup, both Matt Hansen and Jason Knutzon opened with 80s. Both came back the next day to shoot 66.
The Class of 2008 continues to play well on the PGA TOUR with 11 players currently among the Top 125 on the FedExCup list.
The Nationwide Tour is off this week, but returns next week north of the border for the second annual Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung. Justin Hicks won last year’s event while using locker number 99. Coincidence that the Great One wore #99?