News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
Craig Barlow began his final round last week at the Buick Open in exciting fashion. He made an eagle 3 on the opening hole. What made it particularly exciting is that he holed a 111-foot, 5-inch putt to do so. Thats easily the longest putt made this season, topping the 76-foot effort of Justin Rose.
Kenny Perry now has 11 career wins and seven of them have come in just three events. Hes won the Memorial Tournament three times and has two wins each at the Buick Open and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
There were several significant jumps in the FedExCup standings following last weeks Buick Open. Bob Tway made the biggest leap, going from out of the playoffs in 157th place to 116th. Bubba Watson moved from 77th to 39th and Woody Austin climbed from 63rd to 27th.
ShotLink data includes radar readings this year that offer a host of interesting facts. For example, Robert Garrigus hits the highest tee shots of anyone on TOUR'an average of 123 feet 5 inches at its apex. At the other end of the spectrum, Shane Bertsch hits the lowest tee shots on TOUR'63 feet 1 inch. The TOUR average is 89 feet 7 inches.
More from ShotLink: With trouble down the left side, who do you want to drive your golf ball? That would be Billy Mayfair who misses the fairway left off the tee just 6.87% of the time. Olin Brown would be your choice if you dont want to miss right--he does that only 6.33% of the time.
Heres an interesting nugget. J.B. Holmes carries his tee shots an average of 302.3 yards, the longest on TOUR. Corey Pavin carries his tee shots an average of 233.3 yards, the lowest on TOUR. Thats nearly 70 yards difference. However, theres more than one way to get the job done. Pavin, despite giving up that yardage, has a lower Scoring Average (70.00) than Holmes (70.65).
By the way, the average drive on TOUR is down over four yards from last year'288.6 in 2007 to 284.4 thus far in 2008.
With his victory last week at the Commerce Bank Championship, Loren Roberts has eight Champions Tour wins to go with eight PGA TOUR titles.
Two more former PGA TOUR winners celebrated their 50th birthdays recently and debuted on the Champions Tour. Two weeks ago, Gary Hallberg made his first start and finished T16 at the Bank of America Championship. Last week, it was Ronnie Black who made his first career start and posted a T49 at the Commerce Bank Championship.
Lonnie Nielsen joined the Champions Tour in 2003 and waited until the 2007 Commerce Bank Championship to finally record his first win. A year later he nearly added a second, finishing one stroke back of Loren Roberts while defending his title at the Commerce Bank Championship.
A couple of players looking for their first wins on the Champions Tour keep knocking on the door. Nick Price finished T2 last week for his eighth Top-10 finish of the season and his 11th since joining the Tour last year. Tim Simpson was T6 last week for his fourth Top-10 of the year and his 10th overall.
Sometimes you just have to think theres another force at work. Justin Hicks entered last weeks Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung in 160th place on the money list. He was assigned locker number 99 (Gretzkys uniform number) and went on to win the tournament hosted by the Great One and jumped all the way to 13th and in strong position to finish among the top-25.
Greg Owen hasnt won yet, but hes having a standout season. The Englishman has five Top-5 finishes in nine starts and leads the All-Around category and Total Driving stats. Hes also second in Scoring Average, Driving Distance and Birdies as well as third in Putting and ninth in Sand Saves. Heres a statistical oddity. Of the Top 10 players in Scoring Average, only one (Greg Chalmers) has won this year.
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