Nationwide Tour Touches Down in New Zealand

By Sports NetworkFebruary 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
Nationwide TourCHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- The Nationwide Tour remains overseas this week for the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship -- the third international event to open the 2007 season.
 
Last year, Jim Rutledge finished eagle-birdie and fired a final-round 64 to beat two players by one shot for his first career win outside the Canadian Tour.
 
As is normally the case on the Nationwide Tour, Rutledge is not back this season to defend his title (at 47, he is the second-oldest PGA Tour rookie in history).
 
A busy Golf Channel will have at least two hours of coverage of all four rounds.
 
The Nationwide Tour will then go on a one-month hiatus ahead of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which begins on March 22.
 
Notes:
  • WON JOON 'BOOM BOOM' LEE -- You may not have heard of Won Joon 'Boom Boom' Lee but the golf fans Down Under have. The 21-year-old Korean-born Australian who turned professional in November won the 2006 New South Wales Amateur (match play), New South Wales Amateur medalist (stroke play) and New Zealand Amateur medalist. In addition, Lee was the 2006 Western Amateur 54-hole medalist in the States, firing a 61 to overcome a five-shot deficit (he lost in the first round of match play). He represented his country in last year's Eisenhower Cup, too. He's considered a crowd favorite given his ability to 'boom' the golf ball.
     
  • CRAIG PARRY -- The Australian was the first-round Jacob's Creek leader last week. A 20-time winner on the international stage (PGA TOUR, Australasian, European and Japan tours), including the 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational and 2004 Ford Championship at Doral, Parry has indicated he will concentrate his play on the Japan Golf Tour this year after spending the majority of the last 15 years in America. The HSBC will be his fourth Nationwide Tour start. His best finishes have come at the Jacob's Creek event -- a T5 this year and a T8 in 2004.
     
  • SCOTT STERLING -- The '94 LSU grad captured his first TOUR win on Sunday in the Jacob's Creek Open Championship in Australia. It was his 122nd Nationwide Tour start. The win, worth $108,000, was, of course, his largest check ever and significantly surpassed the $72,227 he earned as the leading money winner on the Tight Lies Tour last year. He made his first PGA TOUR start last year in the FedEx St. Jude Classic, finishing T38. He regularly played the Nationwide Tour in 2002-05.
     
  • 199 AND HOLDING.... -- We'll have to wait at least one more week for a Nationwide Tour player to capture the Tour's 200th PGA TOUR win. With 2007 wins on the PGA TOUR by Paul Goydos, Charley Hoffman and Aaron Baddeley, the Nationwide Tour is holding steady at 199 TOUR wins.
     
  • ALSO ON HOLD -- Ben Bates will have to wait another week to surpass Steve Haskins as the Nationwide Tour all-time leader in cuts made. He and Haskin have 192. Bates missed the cut in last week's Jacob's Creek Open Championship in Australia. He is entered this week in New Zealand.
     
  • DID YOU KNOW? No one has successfully defended a Nationwide Tour event in its 18-year history.
     
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x