ADELAIDE, South Australia - Continuing its world travels to open the season, the Nationwide Tour heads down under for the Jacob's Creek Open Championship.
As is usually the case, Paul Sheehan, the defending champion, is not in the field. Sheehan managed just a bogey on the second playoff hole last year, but it was good enough to best Michael Sim for the crown.
Sim is also on the PGA TOUR, but has yet to play this year. Sheehan meanwhile has teed it up three times on the PGA Tour this season, but has yet to make a cut.
The 156-player field is split between 78 Nationwide Tour players, 73 from the PGA TOUR of Australasia and five invitations.
A very busy Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds beginning Thursday at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The Nationwide Tour shifts to New Zealand next week for the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship, where Jim Rutledge won last year. Nationwide Tour NotesTOUR HEADS DOWN UNDER FOR TWO WEEKS -- For the sixth year in a row, the Nationwide Tour travels to Australia and New Zealand to play two events that are co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour of Australasia. The fields are split evenly with 78 players from both tours. They are official events on both circuits.
DAY AND FLANAGAN -- YOUNG AUSTRALIAN TALENT TO KEEP AN EYE ON -- Among the many Australians in this week's event are Jason Day of Queensland and Nick Flanagan of New South Wales. Day, who turned 19 in November, is the youngest member of the Nationwide Tour. He is already very well-known in his homeland having won the 2006 Australian Amateur Stroke Play Championship and other select national junior titles. He is making his first start on this tour. Flanagan, 22, defeated Casey Wittenburg on the 37th hole to win the 2003 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont CC. He begins his second full year on the Nationwide Tour having finished 32nd last year in 24 starts.
AUSTRALIA WELL REPRESENTED -- This week's host country, Australia, has the largest contingent of members from one country on Tour other than the U.S. again this year with 16. Canada is next with nine. The 2007 Nationwide Tour Media Guide lists 54 players representing 21 countries outside the U.S.
200th WIN MILESTONE / UPDATE -- The Nationwide Tour will have to wait at least one more week to capture its 200th PGA TOUR win. Aaron Baddeley's victory at the recent FBR Open was No. 199. Six of the top 10 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am were Nationwide Tour alums, including runner-up Kevin Sutherland and third-place finisher John Mallinger.
BATES NEEDS JUST ONE MORE -- Nationwide Tour veteran Ben Bates needs just one more weekend appearance to surpass Steve Haskins for the most made cuts in Tour history. The two players are deadlocked with 192 each. Bates, a 45-year-old native of Quincy, FL, has played on Tour every year since its inception in 1990, with the exception of the 1998-2000 seasons when he was a member of the PGA TOUR. Haskins leads the Tour with 370 career starts. Bates has 329.
KOOYONGA TURNS BACK THE CLOCK TO 1965 -- Gary Player won the 1965 Australian Open at Kooyonga. He had two rounds of 62 and tournament director Bob Tuohy marked his card for one of them. The story is told that Jack Nicklaus was walking out of the scorer's hut as Player was going in. Player asked him how he played and Nicklaus smiled and said 63. Player replied, Ive got you by one, Jack.
TOUR CARDS ISSUED INCREASES FROM 20 TO 25 -- A reminder....beginning in 2007, there will be an increase from 20 to 25 in the number of PGA TOUR cards that are awarded to Nationwide Tour players for 2008 based on the final 2007 money list. The decision was made due to the level of success Nationwide Tour players have had on the PGA TOUR.
DID YOU KNOW? Last year, 321 players cashed checks on the Nationwide Tour and a record 62 players earned $100,000 or more.
Full Coverage - Jacob's Creek Open Championship
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