Yet another statistic to underscore the strength of field at the 2014 Shell Houston Open. A total of 17 competitors in this spring’s ...
HGA Academic Scholarship Recipients for 2014 (from left) Jacqueline Phung of Richmond Foster, Hailey Hollas of Richmond Travis, Atiyya Menifee of Houston Carver, Tony Ly of Pasadena Dobie, Martha Parra of Spring and Isaiah Carter of Aldine.
Countdown to SHO
PAST CHAMPIONS Click Image to View Archive
Gene Littler (1977)
The Woodlands CC
- September 09, 2003
The defending champ at this week's John Deere Classic is J.P. Hayes, who not only won last year, but set the course record with a 61 in the second-round. What makes the 61 unusual is that he made his only bogey of the week during that round.
Bob Tway's win last week at the Bell Canadian Open ended an eight-year victory drought (233 starts) for the veteran and gave him wins in three decades.
Tway's first win in eight years made him the fourth player this season to end a long winless streak. Peter Jacobsen won for the first time in since 1995 as did Tway, while Craig Stadler won for the first time since 1996 and at the Shell Houston Open Fred Couples for the first time since 1998.
Tway's win made him the eighth player over 40 years of age to win this season. The 40+ plus players have collected 10 titles in the season's first 38 events (26.3%).
It was a week for the experienced player at the Bell Canadian Open. In addition to Tway, Top-10 finishes were posted by six players 40 or older -- Brad Faxon (2), Tom Pernice (3), Fred Funk (T6), Vijay Singh (T6) and Loren Roberts (T8).
Mike Weir's 10th-place finish last week made him only the second Canadian to post a Top-10 finish in the Bell Canadian Open in the last 10 years. David Morland IV finished in a T5 in 2001.
Hale Irwin played in his 200th Champions Tour event last week at the Kroger Classic. In those 200 starts, Irwin has won 37 times, been second 35 times and third 19 times. Overall, that's 91 Top-3 finishes (45.5%). He's also been in the Top 10 151 times (75.5%).
Jim Thorpe continued his hot play last week in Ohio as he upped his streak of consecutive par- or-better rounds to 18. In his last five starts, Thorpe has finished T10-1-T2-T7-T3 and has moved from 21st on the money list to fifth.
Gil Morgan's win last week at the Kroger Classic made him the first player in that tournament's 14-year history to win more than once. Morgan claimed the title initially in 1999 when the tournament was held at Kings Island.
Morgan's win came at the expense of his Edmond, OK, neighbor Doug Tewell who finished two strokes back. It was a good week for Edmond residents. Last week's PGA TOUR winner, Bob Tway, is also a resident of the town.
When Zach Johnson won last week's Envirocare Utah Classic he became the first player in Nationwide Tour history to earn more than $400,000 in a single season. Johnson now has $412,915 to his credit, topping Chad Campbell's 2001 record of $394,552. He'll get an early taste of the PGA TOUR this week as he is playing at the John Deere Classic on a sponsor exemption.
The hottest player on the Nationwide Tour might just be Scott Gutschewski. The Nebraska native was given a sponsor exemption into the Omaha Classic and since then has produced five consecutive Top-25 finishes, including a third last week in Utah. During that five-tournament stretch, Gutschewski has a remarkable seven eagles and 104 birdies.
More on Gutschewski: During his five-tournament run, Gutschewski is 72-under par with 20 consecutive rounds of par-or-better to his credit. Of those 20 rounds, 18 are under-par and 16 are in the 60s.
While Gutschewski and Nick Cassini are the most recent players to play their way onto the Nationwide Tour after beginning the year with no status, they are not alone. In all, seven players have earned playing privileges since this season began -- Gutschewski, Cassini, Vaughn Taylor, Andre Stolz, Jason Bohn, Craig Lile and Shane Tait.