Nationwide Tour Getting Back into a Groove

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Nationwide Tour finally gets going in earnest as the players reconvene in Virginia Beach, Va., for the sixth playing of the Virginia Beach Open.
After starting the year in Panama, the tour then made a swing through Australia and New Zealand before coming back stateside at last month's Chitimacha Louisiana Open. With just four events played during the first four months of the year, the Nationwide Tour will equal that number in the next month alone.
The tour will again hold a total of 31 events, and starting this week they'll play straight through to the Nationwide Tour Championship in early October. The tour will roll out three new events in 2005, as well as visit four different countries - the three mentioned above, along with our good friends to the north for the Canadian PGA Championship in mid-July.
With 20 PGA Tour exemptions awaiting the top-20 on the Nationwide Tour's end of the year money list, players will be hoping to get off to a strong start as the schedule settles into the United States.
They will be hard pressed to match the start of Aussie Steven Bowditch, who captured the Jacob's Creek Open Championship in his homeland of Australia and then followed that with a runner-up finish at the New Zealand PGA Championship.
Bowditch currently sits atop the money list and in this short amount of time has almost assured himself a PGA Tour card for next year with his winnings. His $206,000 is close to $7,000 more than what Gavin Coles made last year in the 20th spot on the final money list.
Bowditch, however, is not in this week's field, leaving the door open for Vance Veazey who is second on the money list, some $64,000 behind Bowditch.
Although very early in the season, a victory here in Virginia by anyone of the first four winners this year would put them precariously close to attaining the PGA Tour's Battlefield Promotion, given out to any players that collect three wins in a single season.
A Battlefield Promotion means immediate inclusion onto the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season. Past winners of the award include Tom Carter in 2003, Patrick Moore in 2002, Health Slocum, Chad Campball and Pat Bates all in 2001 and the first winner of the promotion, Chris Smith back in 1997.
The event will be played for the sixth straight year at the TPC of Virginia Beach, one of the toughest par-72s the players face each year. At 7,400 plus yards, it was the second longest course on tour in 2004, second only to the Senator Course which was host to the Tour Championship.
The purse this year is $450,000 with a first-place check worth $85,500.
Next week the tour heads south into the Carolinas for the BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs.
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - Virginia Beach Open
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    Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

    By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Tiger Woods teed off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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    Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

    As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

    Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

    This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

    The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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    Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

    PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

    She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

    “I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

    Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

    “Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

    She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

    “I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

    Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

    She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

    “They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

    Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

    While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

    “Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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    Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

    By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

    PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

    In fact, she named her “Mona.”

    For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

    While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

    And that has her excited about this year.

    Well, that and having a healthy back again.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

    Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

    Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

    She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

    Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.