Nationwide Tour Year in Review

By Sports NetworkDecember 13, 2006, 5:00 pm
Nationwide TourPHILADELPHIA -- Last year the Nationwide Tour made sporadic national headlines following Jason Gore's run at the U.S. Open, his 59 in the Cox Classic and his battlefield promotion to the PGA TOUR. This year might be remembered for its parity, with no player having more than two wins and with only $60,000 separating the No. 1 and No. 5 player on the money list.
 
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ken Duke gets the nod, but not just for winning the money title. He gets the nod because of the way he won the money title.
 
Duke claimed his only victory of the season at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in April, then posted just one more top-5 finish over the next three months.
 
But he chased down Johnson Wagner and eventually surpassed him for the money lead with a string of four top-5s in 50 days. The last was a runner-up finish at the PalmettoPride Classic, where he lost a Monday playoff to Michael Sim.
 
In the end, Duke also looked good as a top-10 player in nine Nationwide Tour statistical categories. He tied for the lead in top-10 finishes (9) and ranked third in scoring average.
 
Parity paints a muddled picture, and Duke just barely stood out.
 
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR
The Nationwide Tour Championship had all the necessary ingredients for a great tournament, including relevance, a good field and a dramatic finish. The season's swan song did not disappoint.
 
Craig Kanada began the final round six shots off the lead, and stepping onto the 17th tee he still trailed by two. Moments later, it looked even more desperate after Kanada knocked his approach into a bunker and then blasted his third into the rough.
 
But his next swing would set in motion an almost unbelievable chain of events.
 
Kanada holed a delicate chip to save par. Then, at the 18th, his approach landed short of the green, but it didn't matter -- Kanada pitched in for a birdie to finish off a round of 6-under 66.
 
Playing two groups behind, Matt Kuchar bogeyed the 17th and parred the 18th to hand Kanada his second title of the season.
 
SHOT OF THE YEAR
Kanada claimed his second win in 2006 without removing his putter on the 71st and 72nd hole at the Tour Championship. The victory moved Kanada from 32nd to 11th on the money list and secured him a spot on the PGA TOUR next season.
 
'[After 16] I decided not to use the putter anymore,' Kanada joked after the tournament. 'Those were two phenomenal chips and they gave me a memory that will last a lifetime.'
 
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
A 2005 graduate of Pepperdine University, Michael Putnam didn't wait long to make his presence known as a top rookie. At the Rheem Classic in May, a month before his 23rd birthday, Putnam fired a final-round 67 to force a playoff with Darron Stiles.
 
Putnam didn't win the tournament -- Stiles parred the first extra hole to take it -- but his 67 was the third-best score on Sunday and it signaled the arrival of a serious challenger.
 
It was also the first of five top-10 finishes for the youngster, who ended 17th on the money list to punch his ticket to the PGA TOUR -- where he placed fourth at last year's Buick Championship.
 
GOOD YEAR
Johnson Wagner - He didn't win the money title this season, he didn't collect the most top-5s or top-10s, and you probably don't know his name. But Wagner did finish second on the money list behind Duke and was one of five players who collected two wins. He was consistently good from start to finish.
 
Kevin Stadler - A golfing nomad this year, Stadler played events on the Nationwide Tour, the PGA TOUR and the European Tour. The son of a better-known father, Stadler held his own with two wins and three top-5 finishes while making the cut in 10 of his 15 Nationwide Tour starts.
 
Tripp Isenhour, Brandt Snedeker - Like Wagner, Kanada and Stadler, these guys both collected two wins this season. Isenhour was fifth on the money list, Snedeker was ninth, and they combined for eight top 10s.
 
BAD YEAR
Ben Bates - A two-time Nationwide Tour winner, Bates had the worst year among full-time players. He made only five cuts in 23 starts -- missing 12 of the last 13 -- and didn't finish higher than 30th in any event. He ended 183rd on the money list with just $10,335 in earnings.
 
  • 2006 Nationwide Tour Money List
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.