|Bridgestone Invitational - August 03, 2009
WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONALFirestone Country Club (South)Akron, OHPar: 35-35—70Yards: 7,400Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 550Purse: $8,500,000Winner: $1,400,0002008 Champion: Vijay Singh (270, -10)TOUR Media Contacts: John Bush/Laura Hill/Chris ReimerMedia Center Phone: 330-644-2299, ext. 1600
LEGENDS RENO-TAHOE OPENMontreux Golf and Country ClubReno, NVPar: 36-36—72Yards: 7,472Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 250Purse: $3,000,000Winner: $540,0002008 Champion: Parker McLachlin (270, -18)
Top Players, Including Singh, Ready
for Bridgestone Invitational
The third of four World Golf Championships events takes place this week with the world’s best players arriving in Akron, OH, for the Bridgestone Invitational. Vijay Singh is the defending champion, with the Fijian using the tournament as a springboard to a strong finish to his 2008 season and ultimately his FedExCup title. Singh returns to Firestone Country Club’s South Course, where he hung on a year ago to defeat Stuart Appleby and Lee Westwood by a stroke.Playing in the event for the first time since 2007 is Tiger Woods, who has won the Bridgestone Invitational six times, including three in a row from 1999 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2007. Woods is coming into the tournament a winner after capturing last week’s Buick Open. Besides Woods, 49 of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are competing. Robert Karlsson is out with an injury. Also returning to action is Phil Mickelson, who missed several tournaments this summer as he tended to his wife, who has cancer.
McLachlin Defends His First PGA TOUR Title
at Legends Reno-Tahoe Open
Parker McLachlin became a PGA TOUR winner for the first time in record-breaking fashion when he won the 2008 Legends Reno-Tahoe Open by seven strokes. McLachlin took a four-stroke lead into the weekend, improved his lead to six strokes through 54 holes and cruised to victory Sunday despite a final-round, 2-over 74.
McLachlin returns to Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, NV, this week for the 11th playing of this event on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings this year, McLachlin needs a big push in his final two events before the Playoffs to qualify. Joining McLachlin as past Legends Reno-Tahoe Open champions in the field this week are Notah Begay III, Chris Riley, Kirk Triplett, Vaughn Taylor, Will MacKenzie and Steve Flesch.
World Golf Championships-
Bridgestone Invitational Notes
Like last year, Vijay Singh heads into the late summer looking for his first win of the season. In 2009, Singh has posted three top-10 finishes, including a tie for seventh at the AT&T National. He has won at least one tournament in the last seven seasons. Singh is 65th in the FedExCup standings. At No. 2 in the International Presidents Cup Team standings, he is a lock to make his eighth appearance in the event that takes place later this season. Singh has won 22 times since turning 40, a PGA TOUR record.
With Tiger Woods missing the 2008 event due to knee surgery, Woods is playing his first Bridgestone Invitational since his victory in 2007. In that tournament, Woods trailed Rory Sabbatini by one stroke through 54 holes and fired a closing, 5-under 65 to win by eight strokes over Sabbatini and Justin Rose. The victory was Woods’ sixth at Firestone Country Club’s South Course. Only Sam Snead has more victories in a single tournament. Snead won the Greensboro, NC, event eight times.
Jim Furyk has six top-10 finishes at the Bridgestone Invitational in nine attempts and has only once finished outside the top 25. He tied for 27th in 2008.
Five players in the field for this year’s event have competed in all 10 previous installments of the Bridgestone Invitational. They are Stuart Appleby, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood. This group has combined for one victory (Clarke, in 2003), three second-place finishes, one third and 13 top 10s. Appleby is also playing in his 32nd career World Golf Championships event this week. He is the only player to compete in every tournament since the series’ inception in 1999.
There are 16 first-time participants in the field for the Bridgestone Invitational. The players competing in Akron for the first time are Cameron Beckman, Christian Cevaer, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Brian Gay, Yuji Igarashi, Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kang, Soren Kjeldsen, Chih Bing Lam, Danny Lee, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Pat Perez, Alvaro Quiros, Marc Turnesa and Camilo Villegas.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
Tiger Woods’ lead in the FedExCup points race is probably safe this week with Steve Stricker needing to win to have even a chance to pass him, but places 5 through 10 could see a shakeup with extra points available this week and the Top 20 players all entered.
There’s just this week and next week’s PGA Championship left for players to earn an automatic spot on the U.S. and International teams for The Presidents Cup. Sitting firmly on the bubble in the 10th spot for each team are Justin Leonard (U.S.) and Jeev Milka Singh (International). If Singh were to make the squad he would become the first player from India to compete in The Presidents Cup. Captains Fred Couples, the 2003 Shell Houston Open champion, and Greg Norman will round out the teams when each announce two Captains picks on Sept. 8.
This week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational certainly has brought the world of golf together. No less than 52 players in the field hail from countries outside the U.S.
It’s never a surprise when Tiger Woods gets off to a good start and that’s particularly true at Firestone CC. In nine opening rounds at the Bridgestone Invitational, Woods has shot 68 or less all nine times. Overall, Tiger has won the event six times, finished T2 once as well as 4th and T4. He’s 91-under par and has 26 rounds in the 60s in 36 tries.
When Vijay Singh won last year’s Bridgestone Invitational, he became the first player in his 40s to win a World Golf Championships event. A second could come from a group this week that includes Woody Austin, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Yuji Igarashi, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jerry Kelly, Davis Love III, Prayad Marksaeng, Singh, Steve Stricker, David Toms and Scott Verplank.
Across the country in Nevada, the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open will be played for the 11th time and if history is any indicator, a first-time winner might be in the works. Four of the previous 10 winners claimed their first TOUR titles in Reno -- Chris Riley, Vaughn Taylor, Will MacKenzie and Parker McLachlin.
Vaughn Taylor will be in Reno this week looking to become the first player in the modern era to claim his first three PGA TOUR titles in the same event. Taylor won the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open in 2004 and 2005. Leonard Gallett won the Wisconsin PGA Championship in 1929, 1933 and 1934 for his only three PGA TOUR wins.
This is an example of moving up quickly. On July 1, Derek Lamely was 192nd on the money list. By Aug. 2, Lamely had jumped all the way 12th thanks to finishing T34-T19-1 in his last three starts.
When Rickie Fowler finished second last week at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, he continued a tradition of amateurs playing well in the event. Daniel Summerhays became the first and only amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour when he claimed the title here in 2007. He was followed by Top-10 efforts from Sihwan Kim (T6, 2008) and Fowler and Morgan Hoffman (T8) in 2009.
“The 25” continues to have an international feel as 10 players hailing from six different countries outside the U.S. hold a place on that coveted list.
The Champions Tour begins a two-week break this week and will return the week of Aug. 17-23 for the JELD-WEN Tradition in Sunriver, OR.
Russ Cochran finished 3rd last week at the U.S. Senior Open for his best finish on any of the Tours since a T2 at the 1997 Buick Open.
Fred Funk is the new leader in the Charles Schwab Cup race following his victory last week at the U.S. Senior Open. It marks the first time all season that Bernhard Langer has not been in the lead. Langer is now second, 218 points back of Funk.