Stretch Run Starts in Greensboro


2005 Chrysler Classic of GreensboroGlancing at the 2005 PGA Tour schedule it would appear that there are but a couple of big events remaining on the calendar.
Theres the WGC-American Express Championship as well as the Tour Championship. Aside from those two, there are just a handful of run-of-the-mill tournaments to be contested.
Brent Geiberger
Brent Geiberger is trying to become the first player to repeat as champion in nearly 50 years.
But its these tournaments ' like this weeks Chrysler Classic of Greensboro ' that are the biggest of the season for so many players.
There are only five full-field events left to play this year. That means only five chances to crack the top 150 on the money list to earn conditional status for 2006, and only five chances left to break into the top 125 and earn full exempt status for next season.
There are also a few other things to play for, such as spots in next years Masters (top 40 on year-end money list), U.S. Open (top 30), British Open (top 20) and invitational tournaments like Bay Hill and the Memorial (top 70).
Also, the Tour Championship is on offer to only the top 30 in earnings after the Chrysler Championship.
A year ago, Brent Geiberger salvaged his season in Greensboro. He entered the week 144th on the money list and secured his card for not only 2005, but 2006 as well.
Geiberger shot rounds of 66-67-71-66 at the Forest Oaks Country Club for an 18-under total and a two-stroke victory over Michael Allen.
Geiberger will be looking to become the first repeat champion since Sam Snead. Snead won the tournament a tour record eight times and is the only repeat winner, doing so in 1949-50 and 1955-56.
Geiberger may be the defending champion, but hes certainly not the favorite.
Five for the Title:
Sergio Garcia
Unlike many in the field, Garcia will have little if any pressure on his shoulders this week. Hes already won once on tour this year, and is now seeking his third career multiple-win season. Garcia technically has two victories in 05, having captured an event on the European Tour. He has never played this event, but that shouldnt be much of a factor, as Geiberger hadnt competed at Forest Oaks since 2000 before prevailing a year ago. Garcia should also be refreshed. His last start was four weeks ago, when he won the Omega Masters. He decided to skip both the HSBC World Match Play Championship and the Seve Trophy.
Adam Scott
Adam Scott has at least one 'official' win each of the last two years on the PGA Tour.
Adam Scott
While Sergio was kicking up his heels, Scott was going 3-1-1 for the Internationals in the Presidents Cup. Scott, like Garcia, is making his debut in this event. He is still in search of his first official tour victory of the season. He did win the Nissan Open in playoff in February, but it was deemed unofficial since it was weather-reduced to only 36 holes. Scott hasnt had a top-25 on tour since his runner-up finish at the Booz Allen Classic, the week before the U.S. Open. But the 25-year-old Aussie is a streaky player and it's about time to turn up the heat again. And he won three weeks ago in Singapore.
Chad Campbell
Instead of representing the U.S. last week in Virginia, Campbell was in his native Texas for the Valero Texas Open. After a sluggish start, he shot 65-65-68 to earn a tie for 19th. Campbell lost to Scott in that sudden-death playoff at Riviera. He tied for third in this event in 2002.
Chris Smith
Smith missed the cut for the 17th time this season in last weeks Valero Texas Open. But, believe it or not, Smith has been playing much better of late. He had made three straight cuts prior to his hiccup in San Antonio. And just prior to that stretch, he earned his best finish of the year, a tie for fifth in the U.S. Bank Championship. This was the site of his only top-10 of 2004, a solo third-place finish.
Tim Clark
Clarks name is right near the top of the list of Best Player Yet to Win on Tour. He has a second- a third- and a four-place finish this year. The South African, who missed the cut in this tournament last year and tied for 38th in 02, should be buoyed this week by his solid performance in the Presidents Cup. Clark went 2-2-1.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more to keep an eye on
*Jay Haas, who is trying to avoid the inevitable ' the Champions Tour. The Wake Forest Demon Deacon is currently outside the top 125 on the money list. He has only finished outside that number once in his 28 years on tour.
*Brent Geiberger, who is trying to retain his title. Geiberger is lucky to have a two-year exemption from his victory a year ago. He missed four months this season due to a back injury. Hes hoping to earn just his second top-10 of the year this week.
*Tom Lehman, who tied for fourth last year. Lehman talked earlier this year about being a playing-captain in next years Ryder Cup. But without a top-10 since The Players Championship, his focus may be solely on his leadership role. He should be pumped up after watching first-hand the U.S. win the Presidents Cup.
*Hank Kuehne, who tied for 19th last year. Forest Oaks measures over 7,300 yards and benefits the bomber. Kuehne is certainly one of those.
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