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SHO and Tell: The Latest on The Shell Houston Open
SHO and Tell: The Latest on The Shell Houston Open
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Ron Streck
Ron Streck (1981)
The Woodlands CC
Transitions Championship - March 16, 2010

Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club

Palm Harbor, FL
Par: 36-3571 Yards: 7,340
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $5,400,000 Winner: $972,000
2009 Champion: Retief Goosen (274, -14)

Goosen's Victory Came into Full View
at Transitions Championship

It had been a while since Retief Goosen won a PGA TOUR event. Four years to be exact. It wasn’t as if the two-time U.S. Open champion had forgotten how to win a tournament, and it wasn’t surprising that when things at the 2009 Transitions Championship stayed tight going down the stretch, Goosen was ready for the challenge.

Entering the final round of the 2009 event, Goosen trailed Tom Lehman by a stroke at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club’s Copperhead Course. After opening with rounds of 69-68-69, Goosen finished with a 1-under 70 in the final round to edge Charles Howell III and Brett Quigley. The victory was Goosen’s seventh PGA TOUR title to go with his 23 individual international wins.

Another strong field has assembled this week in the Tampa suburb of Palm Harbor, FL, as Goosen looks for his second consecutive win in the tournament and third overall (he also won in 2003). The 41-year-old South African has already racked up three top-10 finishes this season—a fourth-place showing at the Sony Open in Hawaii, a tie for fifth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and a tie for sixth at the SBS Championship.

Transitions Championship Notes

Defending champion Retief Goosen started the 2010 season well with a tie for sixth at the SBS Championship and a fourth-place finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where he shot a final-round 62. The 62 matched his career-low PGA TOUR round initially set in 2002 at the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship. Goosen also tiedfor fifth at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, losing to Camilo Villegas.

Japanese stars Ryo Ishikawa and Yuta Ikeda are playing in a PGA TOUR stroke-play event for the first time. Both Ishikawa and Ikeda qualified for last week’s World Golf Championships-CA Championship, but Ishikawa didn’t play so he could attend his high school graduation in Japan.

Seven players have played in all nine Transitions Championships. They are John Huston, Billy Andrade, Brian Gay, Tim Herron, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair and Shaun Micheel. Gay, Huston and Janzen are playing this week.

Tampa resident Ryuji Imada has made four starts at the Transitions Championship, with a tie for second in 2008 his best finish. Imada has shot 72 in the first round each year he has played.

Woody Austin has played in this event every year except 2008. In those eight starts, he has made the cut each time, with his best performance a tie for 30th in 2004.

In Sean O’Hair’s five Transitions Championship starts, he has two top-10s, including his 2008 victory. In 14 rounds at the Copperhead Course, O’Hair has posted six rounds of 2-under 69, his tournament-low score.

The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort ranked as the ninth-most-difficult course on TOUR in 2009. Fifty-one courses were used during the season, and the Copperhead was just one of nine courses to average more than one stroke over par.

Only three players have shot all four rounds in the 60s during a tournament in the history of the Transitions Championship. K.J. Choi was the first to do it in 2002, followed by Vijay Singh in 2002 and Jesper Parnevik in 2004. Of the group, only Parnevik didn’t go on to win. That year, he tied for second.

Retief Goosen is the only player to shoot four sub-par rounds in a Transitions Championship (69-68-69-70 in 2009) since the event moved from the fall to the spring in 2007. 

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