E-Notes – March 15, 2011
Prior to winning the 2010 Transitions Championship, Jim Furyk had not posted a top-10 finish in four starts to start the season. The rest of 2010? Three wins in 17 starts with a total of seven top 10s en route to the FedExCup title. Furyk is off to a similar start in 2011, with just one top 10 (T9/Hyundai Tournament of Champions) in six starts entering the Transitions Championship.
Last week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship winner Nick Watney had a good showing at the 2010 Transitions Championship, finishing fourth. He posted 65-67—132 on the weekend to equal the lowest final 36 holes in tournament history.
With his win at last week’s Cadillac Championship, Nick Watney became the seventh player in his 20s with at least three wins on the PGA TOUR, joining Dustin Johnson (4), Sean O’Hair (3), Camilo Villegas (3),Anthony Kim (3), Aaron Baddeley (3) and Hunter Mahan (3). Baddeley turns 30 on March 17.
Former Oklahoma State Cowboys had strong performances last week – Michael Bradley won the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com while Chris Tidland finished T7. At the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, Hunter Mahan finished ninth while Rickie Fowler posted a T10. This week, reigning U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, currently a junior at Oklahoma State, will participate in the Transitions Championship as a sponsor exemption.
Last week, Puerto Rico Open champion Michael Bradley became the first player since Davis Love III to win PGA TOUR events in three different decades – 1996 Buick Challenge/1998 Doral-Ryder Open – 2009 Puerto Rico Open – 2011 Puerto Rico Open.
Brian Gay, competing in his 11th Transitions Championship this week, is the only player to compete every year since the tournament’s inception in 2000. Gay’s best finish on the Copperhead Course was T4 in 2007.
Looking for a fantasy golf pick this week? K.J. Choi has two wins (2002, 2006) with a TOUR-best four top-10 finishes in nine career starts at the Transitions Championship. Just five times a player has recorded four rounds in the 60s on the Copperhead Course, with Choi accounting for two of the five (2002 and 2010).
Lee Trevino bettered his age for the first time in his career when he fired a 1-under-par 70 in the opening round of the Toshiba Classic. The 71-year-old Trevino also matched his age in the final round. The last time he had matched his age was in 2006 when he shot a second-round 66 at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio. Gil Morgan also matched his age for the first time in his career when he fired a 7-under-par 64 in round two.
Ian Baker-Finch recruited caddie Pete Bender for his Champions Tour debut at last week’s Toshiba Classic and finished T78. Bender was on the bag for the Australian when he won the 1991 British Open at Royal Birkdale.
Joe Ozaki played in the final pairing on the final day at the Toshiba Classic for the first time in his Champions Tour career, a span of 101 career starts. Ozaki finished T3.
Robert Thompson earned a spot in the next full-field event, (Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic) with his T4 finish at the Toshiba Classic. Thompson, who finished 7th at last fall’s Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament, is not fully exempt this year and his top-10 finish captured him a spot in the event, which begins April 1 at Fallen Oak in Saucier, MS.
The inaugural ISPS Handa Senior World Championship at Mission Hills in China was won by two-time major champion Sandy Lyle. It was his first victory on the European Senior Tour and his first win anywhere since the 1992 Volvo Masters.
David Eger, the defending champion at the upcoming Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, finished T12 at the Regions Charity Classic in his very next start following his win in Biloxi.That result is his best finish in 11 starts since his victory.
53– The number of players who finished with sub-par rounds on both Friday and Saturday at the Toshiba Classic. 50 players broke par on the final day.
Nationwide Tour alumni added wins 297 and 298 over the weekend in the WGC-Cadillac Championship (Nick Watney) and Puerto Rico Open (Michael Bradley). Alumni have now won 10 of the first 12 TOUR events of 2011.
2010 Nationwide Tour player of the year Jamie Lovemark (USC/Jupiter, FL) will host "Inside the PGA TOUR" on Tuesday (March 15th) at 6:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.
TOUR rookie and 2010 Nationwide Tour graduate Bobby Gates (Texas A&M/The Woodlands, TX) has earned nearly $250,000 in recent visits to Mexico (T5) and Puerto Rico (6th) to jump to 70th on the money list. Fellow rookie/grad Keegan Bradley (St. John's U./Woodstock, VT) now has four top-25 finishes in seven TOUR starts this year. He is 57th in FedExCup points.
It was announced recently that Pro Football Hall of Fame member Jerry Rice would return as tournament host of the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae and compete again as a professional.
Two-time Nationwide Tour winner Ewan Porter has a new address. Porter's girlfriend,Annabel Rolley, is about to start a new job as a teaching instructor at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, NY. The Australian couple is considering living in Westchester or upper Manhattan. Ewan will have practice and playing privileges at the club.