Australian Matt Jones pitched in from 42 yards for a birdie-3 to defeat Matt Kuchar on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff ...
HGA Academic Scholarship Recipients for 2014 (from left) Jacqueline Phung of Richmond Foster, Hailey Hollas of Richmond Travis, Atiyya Menifee of Houston Carver, Tony Ly of Pasadena Dobie, Martha Parra of Spring and Isaiah Carter of Aldine.
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David Graham (1983)
The Woodlands CC
- June 15, 2004
Sergio Garcia led the Buick Classic field in birdies en route to
victory last week. You might think that's the case every week, but in the first half of the season (24 events), only six players have led the field in birdies and went on to win.
Sergio Garcia now has two multiple-win seasons to his credit and they
have a certain similarity to them. In 2001, Garcia won the Bank of America Colonial in Ft. Worth and then the Buick Classic. This year, Garcia was the EDS Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas and then the Buick Classic.
The three-man playoff at the Buick Classic featured an
all-international field -- Sergio Garcia of Spain, Rory Sabattini of South Africa and Padraig Harrington of Ireland. It's not the most international playoff in recent memory, though. The 2002 British Open featured a four-man international playoff -- Ernie Els of South Africa, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington of Australia and Thomas Levet of France.
Here's one measure in the improvement of Phil Mickelson's game this
season. In 2003, he ranked T101 in Ball Striking. This year, at the halfway point of the season, he's second.
Through the first half of the season, here's the leader in a few
ShotLink stat categories:
Scrambling -- Scott Verplank (68.0%)
Closest to pin -- Joe Durant (31 feet, 4 inches)
Approaches from 125 yards and in -- Kirk Triplett (17 feet, 3 inches)
Putts made from 25 feet and beyond -- Patrick Sheehan (26)
They are not automatic, but still, nine players have not missed a putt
of three feet or less all season -- Michael Allen, Darren Clarke, Ben Curtis, Dan Forsman, Cliff Kresge, Nick Price, Loren Roberts, Steve Stricker and Scott Verplank.
Hale Irwin has topped the $1-million mark for the ninth consecutive
season to extend his own Champions Tour record.
Tom Kite will play in his 31st consecutive U.S. Open this week. That's
the third longest streak (along with Gene Sarazen and Arnold Palmer) behind Jack Nicklaus (ended at 44) and Hale Irwin (ends this week at 33).
At the halfway point of the season on the Champions Tour, here are a
few leaders in select ShotLink stat categories:
Ball-Striking -- Tom Watson (6 -- 2nd in Total Driving, 4th in GIR)
Scrambling -- Allen Doyle (72.2%)
3-Putt Avoidance -- Ben Crenshaw (1.2%)
Longest Drive -- Andy Bean and Terry Dill (367 yards)
For the second consecutive season, Illinois product D.A. Points entered
the final round of the LaSalle Bank Open in Chicago with the lead. For the second consecutive year, Points was overtaken by an Aussie. First, it was Andre Stolz, and then this past week it was Brendan Jones.
While he hasn't reached the victory circle at the LaSalle Bank Open
yet, D.A. Points loves the course. He set the record at The Glen Club last year with a 64 and returned this year to lower that standard to 62.
It's been a good year for the Aussies on the Nationwide Tour. Jones'
victory was the third by an Australian this year and six of the Top 20 players on the money list hail from Down Under.
Actually, it's been a good year for international players in general.
Half of the first 12 events have been won by international players and the current Top 20 boasts eight international members.
The Nationwide Tour will be well represented at this week's U.S. Open
with 61 former or current members competing.