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SHO and Tell: The Latest on The Shell Houston Open
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Bobby Nichols
Bobby Nichols (1962)
Memorial Park GC
HSBC Champions - November 01, 2010
CIMBA Asia Pacific Classic

American Ben Crane shot 67-64-66-69 for an 18-under-par 266 total at the MINES Resort & Golf Club in Selangor, Malaysia that earned a one-stroke victory over England's Brian Davis.

HSBC Champions
Phil Mickelson returns to defend his title at the HSBC Champions, which is a World Golf Championship event played in Shanghai, China. Mickelson, Tiger Woods and new World No. 1-ranked Lee Westwood of England headline a stellar field that also includes Ernie Els, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer. The tournament will be played on Sheshan International Golf Club where Mickelson shot 17-under-par in 2009 to edge Ernie Els by a shot. 


Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson each will be in a position to take the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (or, in Westwood’s case, maintain).  This is the first time since mid-1997 that there has been more than one player in contention for the No. 1 spot, when between April and July, Tom Lehman, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els occupied No. 1 in the OWGR.

Tiger Woods will arrive at the HSBC Champions in unfamiliar territory – not No. 1 in the OWGR for the first time since June 5, 2005, ending his reign at 281 consecutive weeks.  He regained the No. 1 position (from Vijay Singh) on June 12, 2005, and has held that spot ever since.  In addition, as Woods’ final PGA TOUR start of the season, he will need a victory this week to avoid going winless for the first time in his 15-year PGA TOUR career.

Eight rookies are poised to earn their PGA TOUR cards for 2011 entering the Children’s Miracle Network Classic. Last year, eight rookies retained their cards.

Player Earnings (rank) 2010 Highlights
Rickie Fowler *  $2,612,708 (23)  Six top-10s including two runner-up finishes
Rory McIlroy @  $2,554,280 (26)  Quail Hollow Championship winner with final-round 62
Alex Prugh # $1,272,606 (67) Four top-10s including T2 at Open
Josh Teater #  $1,005,323 (86) Career best T3 at Turning Stone Resort Championship
Derek Lamely # $960,229 (94) First win by a rookie since 2008 at Puerto Rico Open
Blake Adams # $953,488 (99) T2 at HP Byron Nelson Championship
Graham DeLaet * $954,011 (98) 2 top-10s in first four Fall Series starts
Troy Merritt * $760,798 (121) Leads Kodak Challenge

* PGA TOUR Qualifying School graduate   @ Top-125 non-member money list   # Nationwide Tour graduate

Only four players between Nos. 126 and 200 on the PGA TOUR official money list are fully exempt for 2011 via PGA TOUR victories  – No. 130 Henrik Stenson (2008 PLAYERS Championship), No. 138 Nathan Green (2009 RBC Canadian Open), No. 140 Mark Wilson (2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic) and No. 162 Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters Tournament). It should also be noted that No. 125 Troy Matteson is exempt for 2011 through his win at the 2009 Open.


None of the 30 players who came into the AT&T Championship in the top 30 on the money list were bumped out of the top 30.

Bernhard Langer finished T9 at the AT&T Championship and earned 47 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. He now leads with 3,207 points and holds a 582-point margin over Fred Couples. Couples will have to win next week’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship and Langer will have to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to win the Charles Schwab Cup.

Since its inception in 2001, the Charles Schwab Cup champion has been determined eight of nine times at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The lone exception was in 2002 when Hale Irwin claimed the title before the event began.

Fred Couples is on pace to set an all-time, single-season Champions Tour scoring average mark and comes into the Charles Schwab Cup Championship averaging 67.89, well ahead of Hale Irwin’s record 68.59 set in 1998.

Bernhard Langer could capture a third consecutive Player of the Year award as well as the Arnold Palmer Award as the Champions Tour’s leading money winner. Several players have won those awards in back-to-back years, but no player has won each of the honors three years in succession.

Fred Couples has $2,271,894 in earnings in his rookie season. Bruce Fleisher holds the record for most money won by a Champions Tour rookie - $2,515,705 in 1999. Couples needs to win or finish second, to surpass Fleisher’s record.

Brendan Steele (Irvine, CA/University of California-Riverside) became the fourth player to earn his first Nationwide Tour victory at the Nationwide Tour Championship.  Steele, who defeated Colt Knost (Dallas, TX/Southern Methodist University) in a playoff, joins Steve Flesch (1997), Nick Watney (2004) and Matt Every (2009) as players to earn their first victory at the Nationwide Tour Championship.

Brendan Steele’s victory over Colt Knost on the fourth playoff hole equaled the longest playoff on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 and was just the fourth tournament decided in a playoff this season.  Steele’s victory marked just the third time the Nationwide Tour Championship was decided in a playoff in the event’s 18-year history (Allen Doyle, 1995 and Bob Heintz, 1999).

Four players, including winner Brendan Steele (1st/6th), played their way into “THE 25” at the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island to earn PGA TOUR cards for the 2011 season.  Joining Steele were runner-up Colt Knost (2nd/15th), David Hearn (4th/21st) and Joe Affrunti (3rd/22nd).

At 22 years old, Jamie Lovemark (San Diego, CA/University of Southern California) became the youngest player in Nationwide Tour history to capture the money title.  Lovemark topped the money list with earnings of $452,951, highlighted by a victory at the Mexico Open Bicentenary and shared tour-best honors with nine top 10s.  Lovemark finished T7 at the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island.

Of “THE 25” that earned 2011 PGA TOUR cards via the 2010 Nationwide Tour, 14 of those players will have rookie status next year: Jamie Lovemark (No. 1), Chris Kirk (No.2), Daniel Summerhays (No. 5), Brendan Steele (No. 6), Jhonattan Vegas (No. 7), Martin Piller (No. 8), Kevin Chappell (No. 9), Kevin Kisner (No. 11), Fabian Gomez (No. 12), Keegan Bradley (No. 14), Bobby Gates (No. 16), Jim Herman (No. 19), Joe Affrunti (No. 22) and Justin Hicks (No. 25). The 2009 PGA TOUR season counted 16 rookies from the Nationwide Tour, the most since the number of PGA TOUR cards awarded to the Nationwide Tour was increased from 20 to 25 in 2007.



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