Top 125 A Small World at Disney

By Brian HewittOctober 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
Now is the time for all good golfers to come to the aid of their future.
No, thats not quite the same as, Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
But this weeks Childrens Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart is a lot more than a typing exercise for players looking to finish the season in the top 125 on the money list.
Thats what they must do at the Palm and Magnolia courses at Disney World near Orlando to keep their playing privileges for 2008. Players who dont finish above PGA TOURs Mendoza line have only the dreaded Q-School to fall back on.
There will, to be sure, nervous moments.
Take the case of TOUR veteran Billy Andrade. Through the Frys Electronics Open, Andrade ranked No. 146 on the money list. He had hoped to improve on that number at the Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, the week before Disney.
But when the Ginn event replaced the one that was going to be played at Running Horse, it required all players to re-file their entries. Andrade failed to do so and was left out of the field at Tesoro.
Disney will be his last chance to earn his card for 2008 in a 2007 regular TOUR event.
There are, believe it or not, players who can breathe easier. Jay Williamson has received a sponsors exemption into Disney. And because he has earned more than $825,000 this year he is safe to finish above the No. 125 line.
Williamsons caddie, for the entire tournament, will be GOLF CHANNELs Kraig Kann. The last time Kann caddied on TOUR was for Steve Flesch during the Pro-Am at Colonial in 2004. Flesch went on to win the golf tournament. Williamson is hoping some of Kanns mojo will rub off on him.
Kann will report on his week for GOLF CHANNEL. But he was quick to point, This week for us is going to be about Jay Williamson, not me.
Speaking of Flesch, he has won twice on Tour this year and recently said he looks forward to Disney because his family loves the attractions at the theme parks.
This will be 10 years in a row now going to the Magic Kingdom, he said. At nine and five years old my kids are right at the age where theyre dying to go to Disney World. You never die of boredom at Disney. You never know when youre going to have to wrestle Mickey Mouse to the ground.
Fleschs five-year-old daughter Lily wants to meet all the characters. His nine-year-old son Griffin is in it for the rides. So Flesch, when hes not on the course, goes with Lily. His wife, Lisa, goes with Griffin.
The pro-am format at Disney is one the players have come to appreciate as well. Rather than just a one day pro-am on Wednesday, amateurs get to play Thursday and Friday right along with the TOUR pros. The amateurs have a different partner each day as the pairings feature two pros and two amateurs in every group.
Foursomes move much more quickly than the Wednesday fivesomes found at most Tour stops. And the amateurs leave the weekend to the pros.
We like our format, says tournament director Kevin Weickel. And we have no plans to change it.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

    Getty Images

    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

    Getty Images

    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.