Finau, O'Toole claim No. 1 seeds at Big Break Invitational

By Bailey MosierOctober 1, 2014, 11:51 pm

LAKE OCONEE, Ga. – Normally through two rounds of an event, the best players advance to the weekend and try to extend their lead, while players who didn't perform as well are left giving chase.

But this isn't a normal event.

No, the Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation does things a little differently. And why shouldn’t it? The 40 competitors gathered this week aren’t your normal golfers.

Sure, there are PGA Tour and LPGA pros in the field, but “Big Break” is more than the sum of its parts. Enter loopy loopers – hello, Kip Henley and Don Donatello, who both currently caddie on the PGA Tour – and a Pro Football Hall of Famer in Jerry Rice. Neither the event, nor its cast of characters, are lwhat you’re used to seeing on the professional stages. 

The first two rounds of the Big Break Invitational were played as a Modified Stableford, where the more points players racked up, the better. But after the first two rounds, the 12 men and 12 women remaining will start anew when they tee it up at the Great Waters Course on Thursday.

OK, it's not quite that cut and dry. There is the issue of seeding for match play in the third round. But as any golfer knows, there are no guarantees when it comes to match play.

“Tomorrow the slate is clean, for all 12 players, men and women,” Justin Peters said. “Doesn’t matter if you had 60 points or 40 points; if you’re No. 1 or No. 12. In match play, anything can happen. It’s just one day, one on one.”

Peters birdied three of his last four holes Wednesday to sneak into the last spot as the No. 12 seed.

“I don’t think anybody’s scared of me at this point,” Peters said. “You see [volatility] in match play. No. 1 goes down sometimes.”

That No. 1 will be Tony Finau, and while no one is scared of Peters, perhaps Peters should be scared of Finau, after rounds of 67-70 and a two-day Stableford score of plus-55.

“I definitely wanted to be that No. 1 seed,” Finau said. "I knew whether I was [the] 1 seed or 12 seed, you live another day.”

Anything can happen, but the way Finau’s been playing of late, he’s showing no signs of slowing. Two weeks ago, he finished T-14 at the Web.com Tour Championship after completing a rookie season with five top 10s, including a win at the Stonebrae Classic in August. He’ll be a PGA Tour rookie next season.

On the ladies side, Kim Welch, who’s the No. 9 seed, couldn’t be more excited about starting from scratch.

“It’s great,” Welch said, “because I feel like I played OK yesterday, I played bad today, but tomorrow’s a new day and anything can happen in match play.”

The No. 1 seed for the women is Ryan O’Toole, who finished 11 points clear of her next closest competitor through two rounds. The landscape isn’t quite as picturesque for O’Toole, who desperately needs some positive mojo after making only five made cuts in 18 LPGA events this season.

“Two more days left,” O’Toole said. “Obviously today just positions me for match play but it doesn’t really give me that much of a boost. So, tomorrow is a new round, and a new tournament.”

A new round and a new tournament, yes, but hopefully some things stay the same for O’Toole over the next two days – she blitzed the Great Waters Course on Wednesday with an 8-under 64, the lowest round of the week from a man or woman. Mark Silvers shot 6-under 66 Wednesday for the low round on the men’s side.

That low round will help her if she advances to Friday, when women and men play head-to-head in stroke play. It’s a challenge she welcomes.

“I look forward come Friday and being able to compete head-to-head with one of the guys to see the difference and to see what they do,” O’Toole said. “We play our tees, and so I will enjoy being ahead of them off the tee.”

That is, of course, an entire day – and perhaps an entire “tournament” – away. Even though O’Toole and Finau have been playing superb thus far, as golfers all know, anything can happen in match play.


The 12 men who advanced and their seeds for third-round match play are:

No. 1: Tony Finau

No. 2: Mark Murphy

No. 3: Mark Silvers

No. 4: Tommy Gainey

No. 5: Derek Gillespie

No. 6: Hugo Leon

No. 7: David Byrne

No. 8: Brian Cooper

No. 9: Kent Eger

No. 10: Brent Long

No. 11: Jay Woodson

No. 12: Justin Peters


The 12 women who advanced and their seeds for third-round match play are:

No. 1: Ryann O’Toole

No. 2: Emily Talley

No. 3: Gerina Piller

No. 4: Sedena Parks

No. 5: Jackie Stoelting

No. 6: Kristy McPherson

No. 7: Sara Brown

No. 8: Elena Robles

No. 9: Kim Welch

No. 10: Stefanie Kenoyer

No. 11: Carling Nolan

No. 12: Mallory Blackwelder

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.