Calc Looks to Turn Good Year to Great

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  PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mark Calcavecchia decided to play the final four weeks of the PGA TOUR season for one simple reason.
 
'Sheer boredom,' he said.
 
Really, there isn't much else for him to worry about these days.
 
He's one of the headliners this week in the Ginn sur Mer Classic, the Fall Series event that opens Thursday on the Arnold Palmer Course at Tesoro Club. Only a quarter of the top 100 earners on TOUR this season are in the field, which is mostly bade up of players trying to find their way into the top 125 on that money list -- and earn exempt status for 2008 along with it.
 
So there's no Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk or Vijay Singh this week.
 
Instead, here comes Tripp Isenhour, Paul Gow, John Huston, and Jaco Van Zyl.
 
'It's nice not to see Tiger and Phil and Furyk and Vijay and all the same guys every week, actually,' Calcavecchia said. 'Kind of exciting showing up knowing that if you play well you don't have to dust off the top 10 in the world to have a chance.'
 
This year, he's had a chance just about every time out, no matter who else is playing.
 
The 47-year-old Calcavecchia already has a victory this season (the PODS Championship) along with five other top-10 finishes, has earned nearly $3 million in 2007 and tied for second at the TOUR Championship last month.
 
Yet, he isn't ready to see 2007 end, evidenced by this being his third straight start on the Fall Series schedule. He plans to play in the season finale at the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista next week as well.
 
'When I said I was going to play the last four, I wanted to win another one of them and turn a great year into a really great year,' Calcavecchia said. 'So I've got two left. I'm going to play next week at Disney and I'm looking forward to a couple big weeks -- I hope.'
 
This year was a turnaround of sorts for Calcavecchia, who was 120th on the money list last season and had only one top-10 finish in 27 events.
 
The Fall Series has been a turnaround for Justin Leonard, too.
 
Leonard won for the first time since 2005 earlier this month at the Texas Open, beating Jesper Parnevik in a playoff. He's finished at least 13th in each of his last three starts, making nearly $1.1 million -- or about as much as he'd made in nearly his last 50 starts combined.
 
'We can't measure our success by results too often,' Leonard said. 'There's a few players that can, but, you know, sometimes it's going to be in just progress. When you can win a golf tournament out here, it kind of validates things to everybody.'
 
Winning would do more than validate things to most in this field -- it'd get them tour cards for 2008.
 
The top 125 on the money list after next week's event earn full playing privileges for next year. Brett Quigley is 126th with $717,411; he's not here this week. But everyone else from No. 111 (Cliff Kresge, $858,349) to No. 134 (Kent Jones, $574,040) is entered in the field.
 
Or, for the likes of Ken Duke (No. 44, $1,754,478), a spot in the Masters is there for the taking.
 
'If you finish top 30 on the money list you get into an Augusta and maybe the U.S. Open, too,' Duke said. 'That's what I'm shooting for. If I win, I think it would take care of it, no question.'
 
Tesoro's unique par-73 layout measures nearly 7,400 yards, not including some fairly long distances between many greens and tees that will necessitate players to be shuttled several times during the round.
 
This is a first-time event; the tournament was originally scheduled to be in Fresno, Calif. until construction and financial problems with that site forced the tour to seek another venue earlier this year.
 
Most players in the field hadn't played Tesoro until this week, some not before Wednesday.
 
'Other than the obvious distance between the greens and tees, I thought most of the holes were nice holes,' Calcavecchia said. 'I thought it was a pretty nice course.'
 

Ben Curtis shot an 8-under 65 in Wednesday's pro-am. He withdrew after eight holes of last week's Fry's Electronics Open because of illness. ... Identical twins Derek and Daryl Fathauer, seniors at Louisville who grew up not far from the Tesoro Club, are in the field on sponsor exemptions. They're the first twins in a PGA Tour event since Curtis and Allen Strange in 1981. ... The course has played wet this week and there's a good chance of rain Thursday.
 
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