|WGC HSBC Champions - November 01, 2011
E-Notes – November 1, 2011
When the final 2011 PGA TOUR non-member money list was finalized, Canada native Adam Hadwin had earned $440,752, less than the $563,729 (No. 150 on 2010 PGA TOUR Money List) needed for Special Temporary Membership, but within the top 150 on the final 2011 PGA TOUR Money List. After an internal review by the PGA TOUR Competitions Department, it was determined that the spirit of the regulation was to allow non-members earning money equal to or greater than No. 150 on the Money List an exemption into the Final Stage of the Qualifying Tournament, regardless of their status as a Special Temporary Member. Consequently, Hadwin has been granted an exemption into the Final Stage of the 2011 PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. The former All-America at the University of Louisville played in five TOUR events in 2011 with two top-10 finishes (T4 at the RBC Canadian Open and T7 at the Frys.com Open).
This week’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai counts as an official PGA TOUR victory and offers a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR — provided the tournament is won by a PGA TOUR member. If a non-PGA TOUR member wins the HSBC Champions, he would not receive a PGA TOUR exemption, but he would qualify for the TOUR’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Prize money from the $7 million purse does not, however, count toward the official PGA TOUR money list, even if a PGA TOUR member wins.
All four major championship winners — Charl Schwartzel (Masters Tournament), Rory McIlroy (U.S. Open), Darren Clarke (The Open Championship) and Keegan Bradley (PGA Champonship), plus THE PLAYERS Championship winner (K.J. Choi) and FedExCup champion (Bill Haas) -- are in the HSBC Champions field.
Last week’s CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia winner Bo Van Pelt posted a final-round of 64 to win the event by six strokes over runner-up Jeff Overton. Van Pelt’s final-round scoring average in his three PGA TOUR-sanctioned wins is 63.33, having posted a 64 en route to a playoff win at the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship on the PGA TOUR and a 62 in the final round of the Nationwide Tour’s Omaha Classic in 2003.
J.J. Killeen hung on to win the money title with $414,273 in earnings. Ted Potter, Jr. was No. 2, $11,803 behind Killeen, who becomes fully-exempt on the PGA TOUR in 2012 and receives an invitation to THE PLAYERS Championship in May.
Only one player moved into "The 25" last week, with one player moving out. Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island winner Ken Duke jumped from 36th at the beginning of the week to No. 7. James Nitties was his victim. A T35 finish dropped Nitties from 23rd to 26th. The week before Nitties withdrew from the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open with the flu prior to his Saturday tee time. He was one shot off the lead and in 21st spot on the money list at the time. Last October, four players moved in and four moved out.
Two-time heart transplant Erik Compton will be a member of the PGA TOUR for the first time in 2012. Compton, who turns 32 on Nov. 11th, won for the first time on the Nationwide Tour in June in Mexico and finished 13th on the money list.
U.S. Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley III secured the 25th and final spot with a T18 finish at Daniel Island. He was $5,341 ahead of James Nitties. When Hurley signed his card on Sunday, he was 26th. He was the beneficiary of David Lingmerth's missed five-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. The 24-year-old Swede who played college golf at the University of Arkansas finished T3 and slipped to 27th on that one putt.
Four players finished the 2011 season with two wins -- J.J. Killeen, Ted Potter, Jr., Mathew Goggin and Jason Kokrak. Kokrak took a run at a third title at Daniel Island. A final-round 75 derailed his chances (T5).
Eight of the top-10 money winners who earned PGA TOUR cards on Sunday at the Nationwide Tour Championship will be first-time members on TOUR next year.
There were a record 32 PGA TOUR alumni winners in 45 official events on the PGA TOUR this year. The previous record was 28 last year and 23 the year before. Six players who competed on the Nationwide Tour last year accounted for seven wins on the PGA TOUR this year - Keegan Bradley (two wins), Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, Brendan Steele, Chris Kirk and Scott Stallings.
Regional qualifying for Champions Tour Qualifying School was held at three sites last week to determine those players who will advance to the final stage of qualifying at TPC Scottsdale November 15-18. PGA TOUR veteran Robin Freeman topped the field at Primm Valley GC in Las Vegas, NV while Angel Franco, brother of four-time TOUR winner Carlos Franco, was the medalist at the Palm Course in Disney World, Orlando, FL. Five-time European Tour winner Barry Lane was a five-stroke victor at Wood Forest GC in Montgomery, TX. A total of 49 players successfully advanced from the three sites and will join 29 players who were already exempt into the final stage in Scottsdale. All scores can be found here; http://www.pgatour.com/2011/qschool/10/25/championstour-firststage-q-school-woodforest/index.html/
A handful of Champions Tour professionals had sons competing at last week’s first stage of PGA TOUR Qualifying School. Lanny Wadkins’ son Travis finished T15 in Dallas, TX to advance to stage two. Olin Browne’s son, Olin, Jr., failed to advance out of the first stage in Port St. Lucie, finishing T62. Jason Cook, son of John Cook, and Gunner Wiebe, son of Mark Wiebe, also failed to advance, finishing T67 and T50 respectively in Hollister, CA. Bob Tway’s son Kevin was unsuccessful at Pinehurst, NC, finishing T25. Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders shot 17-under to be medalist at the first stage at St. Johns G&CC in St. Augustine, FL.
Tom Lehman is bidding to make history. The current leading money-winner and top points producer in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race, Lehman is bidding to become the first player ever to claim Player of the Year honors on each of the Tours. A three-time winner this year, Lehman was the Nationwide Tour’s Player of the Year in 1991 and was the PGA TOUR Player of the Year in 1996.
The Champions Tour has had eight playoffs this year. In 2002, there were an all-time record nine playoffs. There have only been two playoffs in the previous 21 Charles Schwab Cup Championships and none since 1994.
1/10th – The difference, in yards, between No. 1 John Huston (293.4) and No. 2 Steve Lowery (293.3) in Driving Distance with one official event remaining.
140 – The number of holes Chien-Soon Lu has played without a 3-putt entering the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The only statistical category in which Tom Pernice, Jr. appears in the top 10 on the Champions Tour is Sand Save Percentage (57.4%) at No. 8. Pernice would rank second behind Brian Gay in the same category on the PGA TOUR with 63.04% but did not meet the minimum number of rounds required to be officially ranked.
In his 17th year, Hale Irwin recorded his first Champions Tour hole-in-one (No. 9, R1, Boeing Classic) but he has yet to post a double-eagle. There have been 34 double-eagles in Champions Tour history.
The winner of the last nine Champions Tour events has played in the final grouping on Sunday (since Senior British Open).