Futures Tour Releases 2005 Schedule
Released today, the 2005 tournament schedule will feature 18 tournaments in 13 states. The Tour will launch its season in Florida in early March and wrap up the competitive calendar in late August at the traditional culminating stop in York, Pa.
'For the last 25 years, we have provided the best women golfers from around the world with a consistent and reliable tournament schedule that tests their endurance, demands their best performance and prepares them to take their next step into the LPGA,' said Zayra F. Calderon, chief executive officer of the Futures Golf Tour.
'Since 1999, we have recognized the best five players at the end of the season by providing them with automatic entry into the LPGA,' added Calderon. 'With more than 240 Futures Tour alumnae moving on to the LPGA Tour, our tournaments have, over the years, showcased the current stars of the LPGA, as well as the next generation of stars. We take great pride in our 2005 schedule and in our quarter-century of consistently providing a challenging tournament schedule that tests the best and creates opportunity for future talent.'
Key highlights of the 2005 schedule include:
- Addition of three new tournaments in McAllen, Texas, Lawrence, Kan., and Kankakee, Ill.
- A record 12 of 18 tournaments offer purses of $70,000 or higher, with the season-concluding YWCA Futures Classic maintaining the Tour's highest purse at $75,000.
- Four tournaments increased their purse size by up to $10,000 from last year. This year Tour members will compete for more than $1.23 million for an average purse size of more than $68,610.
The Tour will once again kick off the 2005 season in Lakeland, Fla., home of the Futures Golf Tour. The Lakeland Futures Golf Classic will be contested March 11-13, at Cleveland Heights Golf Course, the Tour's home course and one of three sites used for the 2005 Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Fourteen host communities from the 2004 schedule will return in 2005, including the longest-running Futures Tour event, the 21st annual Michelob ULTRA Futures Charity Golf Classic in Decatur, Ill., and the grand finale YWCA Futures Classic in York, Pa., now in its 19th year. The top five money winners on the Futures Tour Money List will once again earn exempt LPGA Tour cards at the annual card presentation in York -- considered the traditional, season-culminating highlight.
Joining the schedule for its first season and kicking off the 'Southwest Swing' will be the Jalapeno Futures Golf Classic in McAllen, Texas -- an event certain to draw golf fans from both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. To be held at Palm View Municipal Golf Course April 22-24, the event will benefit the McAllen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The 'Jalapeno' will lead into the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, set for April 29-May 1. This event is the Tour's only tournament held on a military base, at the U.S. Army's Ft. Bliss. Hong Mei Yang of Si Chuan, China, who became the first Chinese golfer to win a professional tournament in the United States, will return to El Paso with hopes of defending her title.
The Tour will change venues and host communities May 6-8, when it travels to Lawrence, Kan., for the inaugural Lawrence Futures Golf Classic. The Kansas stop has been held in Wichita for the last four years, but will move to EagleBend Golf Course in Lawrence this season.
The Tour added an additional stop in the Chicago area for its 'Midwest Swing.' Joining the Futures Tour schedule for its inaugural year will be the Kankakee Futures Golf Classic at Kankakee Elks Country Club. Set for June 3-5, the event will fall between mainstay tournaments in Indiana -- the Lake County Futures Golf Classic (May 26-28) -- and Ohio, at the Lima Memorial Hospital Futures Classic (June 10-12).
'We are delighted to have added new tournaments in McAllen, Texas, Lawrence, Kan., and Kankakee, Ill.,' said Calderon. 'We are confident these new events will enhance the 18 weeks of some of the world's most exciting and competitive women's professional golf.'
Four tournaments raised prize purses for 2005. Purses rose by $5,000 in Lima, as well as at the Bank of Ann Arbor Futures Golf Classic in Michigan and at the M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic in Syracuse, N.Y. Players will now compete for $70,000 at the Lima Memorial Hospital Futures Classic, while the purse improves to $65,000 in Ann Arbor and Syracuse. The Michelob ULTRA Futures Charity Golf Classic in Decatur, Ill., improves by $10,000 to a purse of $70,000 for 2005.
'Our tournaments reflect great partnerships with our host communities and tournament organizers,' added Calderon. 'Together, we create opportunity for the players to develop their games and move on to the LPGA, but as importantly, we are also enhancing each community's calendar of events and creating fund-raising platforms for designated local charities.'
The Futures Golf Tour, 'the official developmental tour of the LPGA,' has become the largest international developmental tour and the second largest women's golf tour in the world. Since 1989, Futures Tour events have raised more than $3.2 million for charitable organizations. Throughout its 25-year history, membership has increased from approximately 150 North American players to more than 300 players from 27 different nations. The Tour now conducts 18 tournaments in 13 states.
The top five players on the 2004 Futures Tour Money List received automatic exemptions for the 2005 LPGA Tour. There are more than 240 Futures Tour alumnae who are members or past members of the LPGA Tour and through 2004, they have won a total of 283 LPGA titles, including 30 major championships. The Futures Tour is committed to developing the skills and dreams of women golfers, establishing role models for youth and creating the LPGA stars of tomorrow. For more information, please visit Futurestour.com.
Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.
It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.
Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.
Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.
“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”
The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.
“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”
Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.
Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.
Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.
''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''
It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.
''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''
Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.
''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''
After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.
''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''
He's making his first start in the event.
''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.
Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.
''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''
Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.
''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.
The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.
''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''
Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.
''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.
Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.
Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.
Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.
John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.
Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years
Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.
He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.
How rare is his missing the cut there?
The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.
The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.
The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.
Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.
Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.