Confident Sutton Heads to Houston

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Its been a full two years since Hal Sutton won on the PGA Tour, but he enters this weeks Shell Houston Open with renewed confidence.
 
Sutton is fresh of his first top-10 finish since he triumphed at the TPC at The Woodlands in 2001.
 
Struggling for the past year and a half with his iron play, the soon-to-be 45-year-old got a tip from tour marksman Nick Price last Tuesday. It helped result in a tie for third.
 
Of course, Sutton isnt the defending champion; that distinction belongs to Vijay Singh.
 
Singh shot no worse than 68 a year ago to better Darren Clarke by six shots. His 266 (22-under) total tied the 72-hold tournament record, established by Lee Trevino and Curtis Strange at the Woodlands Country Club in 1980.
 
A playoff, like the one between Trevino and Strange, is more expected at this event than a runaway like Singh produced.
 
There have been 11 extra sessions in the last 23 years. And only twice during that span has someone won by more than three strokes.
 
This is the 56th playing of the Houston Open. After nearly two decades at the TPC at The Woodlands, it will be contested at par-72, 7,508-yard Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas. This is the 11th different tournament venue.
 
Six players have won this event on more than one occasion; though, no one has ever repeated. Carey Middlecoff won in 1953 and finished runner-up the following year. Arnold Palmer did the same in 1966 and 67.
 
Strange is the only three-time champion. He prevailed in 1980, 86 and 88.
 
On the other hand, Jeff Maggert is a three-time runner-up. He finished behind Mike Heinen in 1994; lost in a playoff to Mark Brooks in 96, and was one back of David Duval in 98.
 
The good news for Maggert is that Sutton twice took home the silver medal before garnering the gold.
 
This years purse has increased $500,000 to $4.5 million. The winner will take home $810,000.
 
Related Links
  • PGA Tour Statistical Preview
  • Full coverage of The Shell Houston Open