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Fred Couples (2003)
Golf Club of Houston - MC
- October 30, 2002
It won't happen at THE TOUR Championship, but you might have another
first-time winner at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. Not only have there
been a record 17 first-time winners this year, the last four tournaments
have been claimed by players recording their first wins -- Charles Howell
III, Phil Tataurangi, Bob Burns and Jonathan Byrd. Since becoming an
official event in 1994, four of the past eight Southern Farm Bureau Classic
champs were first timers -- Brian Henninger, Ed Dougherty, Willie Wood and
Jonathan Byrd's 27-under effort last week at the Buick Challenge was the
lowest score ever shot by a first-time winner in a 72-hole event. In fact,
it's only been topped twice in TOUR history -- John Huston's 28-under at the
1998 Sony Open and Mark Calcavecchia's 28-under at the 2001 Phoenix Open.
The top five finishers at last week's Buick Challenge -- Jonathan Byrd,
David Toms, Phil Mickelson, Robert Allenby and John Huston -- all had a round
of 63 or better during the tournament.
Peter Lonard finally missed a cut in his rookie season. The Aussie made
the cut in his first 22 starts this year before missing last week at the
Buick Challenge. It wasn't like he played poorly, though. He shot 4-under
for two rounds to miss the cut by a single stroke.
More on Lonard: He enters this week's Southern Farm Bureau Classic in a
very tight race for Rookie-of-the-Year honors with Pat Perez and Jonathan
Byrd. Perez is 39th on the money list, Lonard 40th and Byrd 41st.
Proving that length isn't everything, David Toms (117th on TOUR in
Driving Distance) is tied for TOUR lead in total eagles with 17. He's tied
with Jonathan Byrd (14th in Distance) and J.J. Henry (28th in Distance).
SENIOR PGA TOUR
Hale Irwin competed in 27 events this season and finished at
par-or-better in all of them. He was 214-under par for the season.
More on Irwin: In addition to becoming the first SENIOR TOUR player to
reach $3 million in a single season, he also became the oldest player (57
years old) to win the money title, the Scoring title and the Putting
Tom Watson will start next season with a nice streak. He did not make a
bogey in his last 52 holes last week at the SENIOR TOUR Championship at
Jonathan Byrd's win last week was the 123rd by a former BUY.COM TOUR
player on the PGA TOUR. It was also the record 21st this year. Of the 17
first-time winners this year on the PGA TOUR, 13 are former BUY.COM TOUR
More on Byrd: He's the second member of the Class of 2001 to win on the
PGA TOUR this year, joining John Rollins who won the Bell Canadian Open.
A record 12 players earned $200,000 or more on the BUY.COM TOUR this
Five international players won on the BUY.COM TOUR this year with two of
them finishing among the Top-15 money winners --Steven Alker (New Zealand)
and Gavin Coles (Australia). The others were Zoran Zorkic (Yugoslavia, #32
on money list), Peter O'Malley (Australia, #34) and David Morland IV
(Canada, #51). A third international player, Aaron Baddeley of Australia,
also finished among the Top-15 money winners.