News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
You might want to look for an Aussie to challenge this week at the Shell Houston Open. Since the tournament began in 1946, Australians have won the title seven times while finishing second six times. Of the events on TOUR, only the British Open (nine wins by Aussies) has seen more Australians win than Houston. By the way, there are 12 in the field this week.
The new look Florida Swing produced four of the six toughest courses on TOUR so far this season. Bay Hill (Arnold Palmer Invitational) is the toughest to date, playing to a stroke average of 2.054 over par. PGA National (The Honda Classic) is second with Innisbrook (PODS Championship) fifth and Doral (WGC-CA Championship) sixth.
Thirty-two players who graduated from the Nationwide Tour or the Q-School last year are among the top 144 players on the FedExCup points list. The 32 players have averaged 7.7 starts this year.
Sergio Garcia has back-to-back top-10 finishes (T5-T3). He has not had three in a row since the 2002 season.
Robert Allenby continues to rack up the top-10 finishes. He has six in his first eight starts this year or as many as he had in 53 starts in the 2005 and 2006 seasons combined. The six are also the most hes had in a season since he recorded nine in 2003. While he hasnt won, his steady play has him in eighth place in the FedExCup points race.
Talk about eliminating the left side'Kyle Reifers has missed the fairway left off the tee only nine times in 140 tee shots (6.43%). Shaun Micheel misses right the least of anyone on TOUR'7.66% (19 of 248).
Andy Bean enters this weeks Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach with a strong record in the previous Florida events. Bean has finished T9-T2-T7 in the first three Champions Tour events in the state this year. He won four titles in his PGA TOUR careeer in Florida.
The Ocean Hammock course, site of this weeks Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach, was designed by Jack Nicklaus. It is one of four Nicklaus courses on the Champions Tour in 2007.
Theres a great field assembled this week at Ocean Hammock with 16 former major championship winners on the PGA TOUR on hand. The 16 have combined for 38 major championships. There are also 22 former Champions Tour major championship winners competing. Theyve combined to win 43 Champions Tour majors.
Skip Kendall set a new Nationwide Tour record for most time elapsed between victories with his win at last weeks Chitimacha Louisiana Open. It came 12 years, eight months and 27 days since his last win at the 1994 Carolina Classic.
You might think that opening with a 60 in a tournament would certainly lead to victory, but that has not proven to be the case. Three times a player has opened a Nationwide Tour event with a first-round 60, including Brenden Pappas last week, but only one has won. Chris Nallen performed the feat at the 2004 Gila River Classic. Pappas ended in a T12 while Jimmy Green finished second at the 1998 Carolina Classic.
Miguel Carballo won the season-opening Movistar Panama Championship and last week made his U.S. debut on the Nationwide Tour. He began in promising fashion with rounds of 69-67 before falling back on the weekend and finishing T77. Hes third on the money list behind Scott Sterling and Nicholas Thompson.