DiMarco Sets His Mark on Winning


2005 FBR OpenChris DiMarcos resume reads quite well. Hes made a Presidents Cup team and a Ryder Cup team. Hes made nearly $14 million in official earnings. And hes made himself into a fixture in the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking.
But he hasnt made his way into the winners circle in three full years. His last victory ' his third overall on the PGA Tour ' came in the 2002 FBR Open.
Hes had plenty of opportunities to end that drought, which has now extended to 79 events on tour. He shared the lead with Phil Mickelson entering the final round of last years Masters Tournament, only to shoot 76 and finish tied for sixth. He appeared set to runaway with the International title, but lost points on both Saturday and Sunday, and tied for sixth. He then lost in a playoff the following week to Vijay Singh at the PGA Championship.
And, at this very event a year ago, he was tied with Jonathan Kaye through three rounds, but his closing 69 was two shots too many.
Winning is very difficult out here. You need everything to go your way, DiMarco said last year.
If I never win another tournament, I'm happy with that. And I want to win 10 more tournaments. I know if I keep going out and playing well and putting myself in position, I'm going to win some more tournaments.
DiMarco is joined in the field by 1995 and 2003 champion Vijay Singh; 2000 winner Tom Lehman; and 1996 victor Phil Mickelson ' just to name a few.
One notable absentee is Paul Casey. The Arizona State graduate, who made derogatory comments towards Americans late last year, withdrew from the Buick Invitational, citing back problems. He pulled out of this event three weeks ago, but his agent told tournament officials that there was a '99 percent chance' that Casey would recommit. He did not, however, before last Friday's deadline.
Once again, the FBR Open will coincide with Super Bowl weekend. The event kept its spot on the tour calendar, forcing the Buick Invitational to be moved up a couple of weeks.
Despite having its final round being played the same day as the nations top sporting event, the Phoenix-area faithful poured in at over 90,000 on Sunday of last year ' and over 500,000 for the week.
Kayes triumph a year ago was a very popular one for the locals. A Phoenix resident, Kaye not only knocked off DiMarco, he held off the likes of Mickelson and Singh for his second career tour victory.
That experience certainly must have helped him at this years Mercedes Championships.
Kaye played alongside world No. 1 Singh in the first round at Kapalua and shot 68 to Singhs 66. He then played Round 2 with world No. 2 Tiger Woods, whom he bettered by a stroke (67 to 68). In the third round, he was paired with world No. 3 Ernie Els, and beat him by two (66 to 68). And on Sunday, he was grouped with both Singh and Els. Kayes 71 matched that of Els and was three strokes lower than Singhs 74. He finished the event in solo second place, one back of champion Stuart Appleby.
I never felt like I didn't belong here, Kaye said following the Mercedes. So, you know, someone's got to be 1, 2 and 3 (in the world) and I'm whatever I am. So hopefully I'll move up and some time you'll be talking about me.
People will certainly be talking if he can successfully defend his title this week, because it hasnt happened here in 30 years.
Johnny Miller was the most recent player to win back-to-back, doing so in 1974-75. Lloyd Mangum won in 1952-53; Jimmy Demaret in 1949-50; and Ben Hogan in 1946-47. Arnold Palmer is the only player to win three straight, doing so from 1961-63.
The TPC at Scottsdale (par 71; 7,216 yards) will host the event for the 19th consecutive year.
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