E-Notes – February 15, 2011
While there have been two first-time winners in the first six weeks in 2011, the last player to win his first PGA TOUR event at the Northern Trust Open was Len Mattiace in 2002.
Last year at the Northern Trust Open, the two eagles at No. 10, the 310-yard par 4 that serves as this week’s Kodak Challenge Hole, were both recorded from off the green – by D.J. Trahan and Tim Clark.
Northern Trust Open defending champion Steve Stricker leads the PGA TOUR with 25 consecutive cuts made. The last time he failed to make the 36-hole cut was at the 2009 PGA Championship.
Nine of the top 10 (and 42 of top 50) in the current FedExCup standings are scheduled to play in the Northern Trust Open this week. Gary Woodland, currently 10th in the standings, is an alternate.
Rookies Robert Karlsson (15th) and 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen (20th) are two of the 31 players in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking that are in the field at the Northern Trust Open. Both players will make their PGA TOUR member debuts at Riviera Country Club.
Defending champion Steve Stricker leads a group of nine past champions in the field at the Northern Trust Open. The other past champions in the field are Robert Allenby (2001), Fred Couples (1990, 1992),Charles Howell III (2007), Billy Mayfair (1998), Phil Mickelson (2008-09), Corey Pavin (1994, 1995), Rory Sabbatini (2006) and Mike Weir (2003-2004).
Nick Watneynotched his third top-10 in three 2011 starts last week with a T6 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Watney is now tied with Matt Kuchar and Bill Haas for most top-10s in 2011, and has five consecutive top-10s dating back to 2010.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am championD.A. Points became fourth player in six events to earn a trip to the Masters in April with a 2011 TOUR victory, joining Jonathan Byrd, Mark Wilson, and Jhonattan Vegas. Points, Wilson and Vegas will all be playing the Masters for the first time in their careers.
Tom Lehman’s victory at the Allianz Championship, and his second-place effort in the season opener at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, has him atop both the money list, with $454,000, as well as the Charles Schwab Cup race with 454 points.
The winners on both Tours last week (Tom Lehman/Allianz Championship/Champions Tour and D.A. Points/AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am/PGA TOUR) are former winners on the Nationwide Tour.
Olin Brownemade an ace during the first round of the Allianz Championship. Browne also had hole-in-ones on both the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR and is just one of four players to do so. The others are Jim Thorpe, Chip Beck andDave Barr.
Members at the Australian Golf Club were startled to see Jack Nicklaus out on their course last week. The Golden Bear had been on a fishing trip in New Zealand and decided to visit the course he redesigned in the mid-1970s. The club is considering upgrading its greens and is consulting Nicklaus because of his past association.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Gary Player, the first winner in the history of The ACE Group Classic (1988), will make his 23rd appearance in the Champions Tour tournament in Naples (he skipped in 2006).
Allen Doyle’s five-stroke, wire-to-wire victory in the 1999 edition of The ACE Group Classic made him the first player to claim titles on both the Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.
Ernie Gonzalez, who won the 1986 Pensacola Open and is one of only nine left-handers to win on the PGA TOUR, becomes eligible for the Champions Tour when he turns 50 on Saturday, February 19.
3– The number of playoffs in the 23-year history of The ACE Group Classic.
The 22nd Nationwide Tour season begins next Thursday (Feb. 24th) with the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama, followed by the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open presented by Samsung in Colombia (March 3-6).
2010 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year Jamie Lovemark has not had a good start to his rookie season on the PGA TOUR. It turns out there is a good reason. The 22-year-old posted the following on Twitter last Friday: @jamielovemark: Hate to WD from AT&T and Northern Trust next week but my back is not in a good place..disc issues since October. Needs to get reevaluated.
In his last two wins, D.A. Points has holed wedge shots en route to victory on Sunday. In the 2008 Miccosukee Championship on the Nationwide Tour, Points slam-dunked a 125-yard shot for eagle on the 72nd hole. It got him into a playoff with Matt Bettencourt, which he won. The shot was crucial in helping the Illinois native secure his PGA TOUR card for 2009. On Sunday at Pebble Beach, Points holed another wedge for eagle, from 100 yards on the 14th hole.
Nationwide Tour alumni have won all six PGA TOUR events played thus far in 2011. The mark for most wins in a row in one season is seven set in the spring of 2006. The current streak stretches to seven if Robert Garrigus' win in the 2010 PGA TOUR finale at Walt Disney World Resort last fall is factored in.
The alumni win count on the PGA TOUR is closing in 300. D.A. Points win on Sunday at Pebble Beach was No. 294.