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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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Phil Blackmar
Phil Blackmar (1997)
TPC at The Woodlands
- July 27, 2004

  • When eight players tied for the lead after the first round of last week's U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, it was only the second time since 1970 (when record keeping in this category began) that that many players were tied for the lead. The only other time it happened was at the 2000 Honda Classic. Coincidentally, seven players were tied for the first-round lead at last week's Samsung Canadian PGA Championship on the Nationwide Tour -- that's only one shy of the all-time record on that Tour.

  • Carlos Franco now has four career wins, all in two tournaments. He's won in New Orleans twice and twice in Milwaukee. The last player to have his first four career wins occur in only two events was Jim Furyk. Furyk won three Las Vegas Invitationals and one Sony Open in Hawaii for his first four career wins between 1995 and 1999.

  • Scott Hoch has not won since the Ford Championship at Doral in 2003, but he's currently on a hot streak and may break back into the winner's circle soon. He's finished T11, T11 and 10 in his last three outings.

  • Scott Verplank is on a roll, too. He's made the cut in all 15 starts this season and in his last three tournaments has finished T11, T7, T11.

  • Seven players have finished in the Top-10 in at least half their starts this year. Phil Mickelson is 12 for 16 to lead the pack while Tiger Woods is 9 for 13. Ernie Els is 7 for 11, Retief Goosen 7 for 13, Vijay Singh 10 for 20, Stephen Ames 9 for 18 and Padraig Harrington 4 for 8.

  • Bo Van Pelt has four Top-10 finishes in his last seven starts and is one of four Nationwide Tour alums from the Class of 2003 to have earned at least $1 million this season on the PGA TOUR. He's currently 32nd on the money list with $1,343,669.

  • International players are on a roll--they've won seven of the last nine PGA TOUR events dating back to the Memorial Tournament. Since then, Ernie Els (South Africa), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Retief Goosen (South Africa), Adam Scott (Australia), Stephen Ames (Trinidad & Tobago), Mark Hensby (Australia) and Carlos Franco (Paraguay) have all won. The only U.S. players to win in that span were Todd Hamilton and Jonathan Byrd.


  • Don Pooley finished in a T5 at last week's Senior British Open. He was aided by a remarkable three-hole stretch of the first round where he went eagle-eagle-birdie. That's 5-under for three holes.

  • Speaking of remarkable acts, how about Graham Marsh's two aces on the same hole during the Senior British Open? The Aussie recorded holes-in-one on the 11th hole during the first and third rounds of the event. The last time (and to our knowledge, the only time) a player has made two aces on the same hole in a tournament occurred during the two-day Pro-Am preceding the 1986 Chrysler Cup at the TPC at Avenel. Arnold Palmer made holes-in-one on the third hole on successive days.

  • In the first 17 weeks of the season, the Champions Tour crowned only two first-time winners (Mark McNulty and Ed Fiori). In the last two weeks, both in major championships, two more were crowned -- Mark James and Pete Oakley.

  • Bob Charles finished in 65th place at last week's Senior British Open. He is the only player to have competed in all 18 such events, winning in 1989 and 1993.


  • Winning the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open has been a good omen on the Nationwide Tour. Three of the past 14 champions -- Tom Lehman (1990), David Duval (1993) and David Toms (1995) -- have gone on to win major championships.

  • No one has ever successfully defended a title on the Nationwide Tour and this week Jeff Klauk becomes the latest to try. Klauk has quite a history at Crestview CC. He not only won last year, but he was T2 in 2002. In eight rounds, Klauk has seven in the 60s.

  • Conditions were ripe for scoring in the final round of last year's Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open and the players took advantage. The final-round scoring average of the event was 68.257 -- the lowest for any round on the 2003 Tour. No less than 52 of the 74 players fired final rounds in the 60s last year.

  • The Nationwide Tour features players from all over the globe, and from all ages. A good example from last week's Samsung Canadian PGA Championship -- among those making the cut were 20-year old Ty Tryon and 52-year old Dan Halldorson.

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