|Zurich Classic of New Orleans - April 19, 2010
ZURICH CLASSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
Par: 36-35—71 Yards: 7,399
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $6,400,000 Winner: $1,152,000
2009 Champion: Jerry Kelly (274, -14)
Seven Years Later, Kelly Earned his
Third Title with Zurich Classic Victory
It had been seven years since Jerry Kelly won his only PGA TOUR titles—at the 2002 Sony Open in Hawaii and the Advil Western Open. There had been a couple of close calls—four runner-up showings, two each in 2006 and 2008—but another victory had been elusive.
That ended last year in New Orleans when Kelly took control of the tournament with a 3-under 69 in the third round and then hung on to defeat Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini and Charlie Wi by a stroke.
Kelly defends a TOUR title for the third time in his career this week when he arrives at TPC Louisiana. The Wisconsin native has been amazingly consistent this season. His best finishes are ties for 12th at The Honda Classic and at the Masters Tournament.
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Notes
Former winners of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in this week’s field are Jerry Kelly (2009 champion), Andres Romero (2008), Chris Couch (2006), Tim Petrovic (2005), Steve Flesch (2003), K.J. Choi (2002), David Toms (2001), Brad Faxon (1997) and Scott McCarron (1996).
Sergio Garcia will make his first appearance at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Garcia, who has made the cut in all but one of his starts this season, is a seven-time PGA TOUR winner and has 11 international victories.
Chris Couch, whose only TOUR win came at the 2006 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, had posted just two career top-10s before the win. Couch has two top-10s in 2010 after beginning the year outside the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking. After a pair of tie-for-fourth finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Couch jumped to 205th in the Ranking and is currently 206th. His career-high in the Ranking was 103rd, the week after his New Orleans victory at English Turn Golf and Country Club.
Jerry Kelly has made nine starts at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and he typically opens well in the Crescent City. A year ago, Kelly began the tournament with a 4-under 68 at TPC Louisiana. In those nine starts, he has failed to break par in the opening round twice—missing the cut both times (a 74 in 1998 and a 76 in 2006).
Charles Howell III has an impressive record in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He has never missed a cut in seven appearances and has four top 10s, including runner-up performances in 2006 and again last year. Fifteen of his 28 rounds have been in the 60s and his last nine have all been under par.
The last four holes at TPC Louisiana are pivotal. Last year, Jerry Kelly was a cumulative 4-under for the week on the closing holes. That was good, but nothing compared to Andres Romero’s performance on the holes in 2008 when he recorded his first PGA TOUR title. Romero was 10-under that week and 13-under overall. Nick Watney, the 2007 champion, played the holes in 1-under, while Tim Petrovic was 1-over during his win in 2005. The tournament was not held at TPC Louisiana in 2006 because of extensive course damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana native David Toms has made 16 career starts in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He won the tournament in 2001 when it was contested at English Turn Golf and Country Club. The victory was the fifth of his 12 career titles. Toms has made three starts at TPC Louisiana, with his best performance a tie for fifth a year ago.
Andres Romero enters this week's tournament on a hot streak. He won the Tour de las Americas' Abierto VISA del Centro last week in Cordoba, Argentina, defeating Angel Cabrera, who was the runner-up.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
•This will be the 62nd playing of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the only Louisiana native to win the event is David Toms (Shreveport, LA/LSU) in 2001.
•While Louisiana natives have had a hard time winning in New Orleans, the same can’t be said for international players. Players from nine countries outside the U.S.—Argentina, Canada, England, Fiji, Paraguay, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and Wales—have won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
•You might want to look for a first-time winner at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans—10 of the last 20 winners of the event earned their first career titles.
•Charles Howell III (Augusta, GA/Oklahoma State) has a solid record in New Orleans with four Top-10s, including runner-up efforts in his last two starts (2006 and 2009). He’s 79-under par in New Orleans in seven career starts.
•Players elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame have won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on 19 occasions, including two each by Henry Picard, Byron Nelson, Billy Casper, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson.
•Rookie Blake Adams (Bartlesville, OK/Georgia Southern) tied the PGA TOUR for fewest putts in a round when he needed just 18 during the second round of last week’s Verizon Heritage. Adams holed out from off the green four times in the round and needed only eight putts on the front nine.
•With a T10 at the Masters and a T5 last week at the Verizon Heritage, Ricky Barnes (Stockton, CA/Arizona) has back-to-back Top-10 finishes for the first time in his career.
•There are Captains galore at this week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. In the field this week are former or current President Cup Captains Fred Couples, Hale Irwin and Gary Player. Also playing this week are former or current Ryder Cup Captains Paul Azinger, Billy Casper, Ben Crenshaw, Dow Finsterwald, Tony Jacklin, Mark James, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.
•Ken Green will return to action this week for the first time since his tragic accident last year. He will team with Mike Reid in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf and will become, we believe, the first amputee to compete in a TOUR-sponsored event.
•Tom Watson and Andy North will look to continue their amazing record together—they have yet to make a bogey in 216 holes while paired together.
•There will be a lot of newcomers this week at the Legends. Michael Allen, Paul Azinger, Fred Couples, David Frost, Corey Pavin, Hal Sutton and Bob Tway will all compete for the first time in the event.
•This week’s South Georgia Classic will be held at the Kinderlou Forest GC, the longest course on Tour at 7,781 yards.
•While the course may be long, putting was the key last year as the winner and runner-up, Garth Mulroy (Durban, S. Africa/N.C. State) and Chris Tidland (Torrance, CA/Oklahoma State), finished 1-2 in putting.
•Jim Furyk’s victory at the Verizon Heritage last week was the 271st victory by a former Nationwide Tour player on the PGA TOUR and the 11th this season.