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SHO and Tell: The Latest on The Shell Houston Open
SHO and Tell: The Latest on The Shell Houston Open
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Gibby Gilbert
Gibby Gilbert (1970)
Champions Golf Club
- June 01, 2004

  • If you are looking for a good reason for Phil Mickelson's improvement over last season, you need not look much further than this: In 2003, Mickelson was tied for 157th in distance from the pin on his approach shots, averaging 43 feet from the hole. In 2004, he's first on TOUR hitting his approaches only 30 feet, 8 inches from the cup.

  • Who has made the most long putts on TOUR? If you said Patrick Sheehan, go to the head of the class. Sheehan has made 22 putts this year from 25 feet and beyond.

  • While the Memorial Tournament has always boasted a strong international contingent of players, only four of the first 28 playings of the event have produced winners from outside the U.S.?Australia's David Graham (1980) and Greg Norman (1990 and 1995) and Fiji's Vijay Singh (1997).

  • Scott Verplank misses his tee shots to the left the least of anyone on TOUR, just 6 percent of the time (the TOUR average. is 13.8 percent). Fred Funk misses right the least at only 6.5 percent (TOUR average is 15.5 percent).

  • Prior to this year, Vaughn Taylor had played in two PGA TOUR events and never made a cut. The 2003 Nationwide Tour graduate has faced challenges in his rookie year on TOUR, but he held up quite well during his first time contending at a PGA TOUR event. Taylor tied for fifth at last week's FedEx St. Jude Classic, easily bettering his tie for 25th at the Buick Invitational, his previous-best performance. The win, worth $165,087, moved him inside the top 125 on the money list. He's 121st, with $248,394 in earnings.

  • A year ago, David Toms shot a final-round 64 at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic by three strokes, holding off Nick Price, who fired a 9-under 62 the final day. Last week, as Toms successfully defended his title near Memphis, he shot a final-round 73 in heavy winds and still won by six.

  • The PGA TOUR's Player of the Month for May is Steve Flesch. He won the Bank of America Colonial and had one other top-five finish.


  • This week's Knoxville Open Presented by Food City is one of four original Nationwide Tour events remaining on the schedule. This season, Knoxville, Springfield, MO, Wichita, KS, and Boise, ID, will all celebrate 15 years of Nationwide Tour competition.

  • Only two lefthanders have ever won on the Nationwide Tour. Vic Wilk was the first back in 1994 when he won the Knoxville Open. Recent PGA TOUR winner Steve Flesch is the only other lefty to win on the circuit, capturing the 1997 Nationwide Tour Championship.

  • Franklin Langham has been on a tear lately, shooting in the 60s in 16 of his last 19 rounds of golf. During that span he has a victory, a tie for second and, most recently, a sixth-place showing last week at the SAS Carolina Classic. In those 19 rounds, he is a combined 75-under par.

  • For the seventh time in Nationwide Tour history, a four-man playoff decided a tournament. At last week's SAS Carolina Classic, Chris Anderson outlasted Brendan Jones on the eighth playoff hole. Paul Gow and Jason Buha dropped out after the first extra hole. The next longest four-man playoff in Tour history was also the first, when John Flannery defeated Esteban Toledo, Tom Lehman and Rob Boldt in a four-hole playoff at the 1991 Reno Open.

  • Although Paul Gow dropped out of the four-player playoff with a bogey on the first extra hole at last week's SAS Carolina Classic, it wasn't his first Tour-related playoff. In 2001, Gow lost to Jeff Sluman at the B.C. Open. That year Gow couldn't match Sluman's birdie on the second playoff hole.

  • Brendan Jones has this second-place thing down quite well this season. Although he's still winless on the Nationwide Tour, Jones has been in the hunt in three of his four starts this season. He tied for second at the Jacob's Creek Open in his native Australia, followed by another tie for second at the New Zealand Open. After missing the cut at the Henrico County Open, Jones was back in the runner-up spot last week, losing in an eight-hole playoff to Chris Anderson. In only four events -- and three made cuts -- he is sixth on the money list with $153,925.

  • The Nationwide Tour Player of the Month for May is Chris Anderson, the winner at last week's SAS Carolina Classic. Besides his win, Anderson also had a runner-up finish at the Chattanooga Classic.

  • The defending champ at this week's Farmers Charity Classic, Doug Tewell, misses his tee shots left the least of anyone on the Champions Tour (5.3 percent). Morris Hatalsky misses right the least of anyone, also 5.3 percent of the time.

  • This stat, courtesy of ShotLink, should come as no shock to anyone who follows golf. Ben Crenshaw and Morris Hatalsky three-putt less than anyone on the Champions Tour -- 1.3 percent of the time.

  • In order to avoid a playoff with Jay Haas, Hale Irwin needed to birdie the 72nd hole Monday at the Senior PGA Championship. When he did, it gave him a one-stroke win and his fourth Senior PGA Championship title. But this was the first time since Irwin's first victory in 1996 that things were tense down the stretch. That year Irwin beat Isao Aoki by two strokes. But in his subsequent wins in 1997 and 1998, he won by 12 strokes and seven strokes, respectively.

  • Hale Irwin's win last week was also his first Senior PGA Championship win on a course other than PGA National's Champions Course in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

  • With a tie for 10th at the Senior PGA Championship, Jerry Pate turned in his best performance since he joined the Tour. His previous-best showing was a 17th-place finish at the MasterCard Classic in Mexico in March.

  • John Harris also picked up his first Champions Tour top 10 at the Senior PGA Championship. The Minnesota native finished ninth, his best performance in 44 Champions Tour events.

  • The Champions Tour's Player of the Month for May is D.A. Weibring. He picked up a victory at the Allianz Championship and had two other top-10 finishes.

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