Bubba Watson ended Mark Wilson’s 12-week run at the top of the FedExCup standings with his second victory of the year at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. With 1,339 points, Watson now leads Luke Donald by 120 points as he attempts to return to the THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola for the third time in four years (2008, 2010).
Consecutive weeks with FedExCup points lead
FedExCup final standing
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Luke Donald’s T8 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans was his sixth consecutive top-10 performance of the year after missing the cut in his initial 2011 PGA TOUR start at the Northern Trust Open.
Last week’s playoff at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans was the seventh on the PGA TOUR this year in 18 stroke-play events. There were seven playoffs for the entire 45 tournament stroke-play tournament schedule in 2010.
With his win last week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Bubba Watson became the fourth left-handed player in TOUR history to win twice in the same season – Bob Charles/1963; Phil Mickelson/13 times/most recent 2009; Mike Weir/2003.
Bubba Watson was T1 in Greens In Regulation (80.56 percent) at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and leads the PGA TOUR in that category through 19 events (74.07 percent). In five previous full seasons on TOUR, Watson finished inside the top 50 in GIR just once at 27th (67.60 percent) in 2008.
At the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship, Rory McIlroy’s final round 10-under 62 set the Quail Hollow Club course record and was the lowest finishing score by a PGA TOUR winner since Brad Faxon’s 61 at the 2005 Buick Championship.
12 players that have accounted for 14 of the 19 PGA TOUR wins in 2011 are in this week’s field at the Wells Fargo Championship, including multiple winners Mark Wilson and Bubba Watson.
Nick Price earned the Champions Tour’s Player of the Month for March/April. Price won the Toshiba Classic, shooting a record-equaling Champions Tour low round of 11-under 60 in the opening round. He finished T2 behind Tom Lehman in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, tied for seventh at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and posted a T12 finish with Mark O’Meara while attempting to defend their Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf title.
After last week’s deadly and destructive tornadoes in Alabama, Champions Tour professional Jerry Pate donated several hundred chainsaws from his Toro dealership to the cities of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa to assist with the clean-up. Pate will join Condoleezza Rice for the opening ceremonial tee shot to begin the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek on Thursday.
The next two tournaments on the Champions Tour schedule (Regions Tradition, May 2-8 and Senior PGA Championship, May 23-29) are major championships and carry double Charles Schwab Cup points. Tom Lehman is the Schwab Cup leader with 772 points this season, a 212 point lead over second-placed John Cook.
Birmingham native Steve Lowery will play his first Champions Tour major in his home state when he tees it up in the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek. It will be his eighth Champions Tour start since turning 50 last October.
Should the Regions Tradition end in a playoff, it would be the third consecutive playoff on the Champions Tour, the first time that has happened since early in 2008 when playoffs decided the winner at The ACE Group Classic, the Toshiba Classic and the AT&T Champions Classic.
Gil Morgan, a two-time winner of the Tradition, is the leading money winner in this event, with $1,089,032, while Tom Watson, the 2003 champion, is second, with $1,083,136. Two-time winnerFred Funk is third, with $955,000. In addition to his two wins (2008 and 2010), Funk was T5 in 2009 and T11 in 2007.
Hale Irwin, the winningest player in Champions Tour history, with 45 career victories, is looking to add another top-10 finish in a major championship to his resume. Should he do so, Irwin would tieJack Nicklaus for the all-time lead in that category. Nicklaus had 30 top-10 finishes in Champions Tour majors
16– The number of players in the Regions Tradition field who made the cut in both the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships, also held at Shoal Creek.
Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner Bubba Watson spent Monday and Tuesday in Athens, Ga. Watson is honorary co-chairman of this week's Stadion Classic at UGA along with fellow BulldogChip Beck. On Monday, Watson presented the University of Georgia with a check for $50,000 for their Play Golf America University program. Members of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team were able to donate money in support of PGAU to colleges and universities of their choice. PGAU's goal is to boost golf education and engagement.
Bubba Watson's win in New Orleans was PGA TOUR victory No. 303 by a former Nationwide Tour member. It was the 15th in 19 TOUR events this year. Watson graduated from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA TOUR at the end of the 2005 season.
Ted Potter, Jr.became the first Monday qualifier to win a Nationwide Tour event since Kyle Reifers won in Chattanooga in 2006 and the 20th to do so since the Tour was launched in 1990. He is the fifth left-handed player to win on the Nationwide Tour.
Jay Haas has accepted an invitation to play in the BMW Charity Pro-Am (May 19-22). Haas lives at host Thornblade Club in Greenville, S.C. It will be his second Nationwide Tour start (same event/2001/missed cut). Son Jay, Jr. recently earned a spot in the field via a qualifier event.
Ted Potter, Jr.was joined by six other Monday qualifiers who finished in the top 25 in Valdosta to get into this week’s Stadion Classic at UGA – Brett Long (T3), Matt Hendrix (T10), Matt Boyd(T24), Brian Harman (T24), Troy Kelly (T24) and Michael O’Neal (T24).