By Zak Kozuchowski, PGATOUR.COM
Every year, Augusta National honors past Masters champions with the Champions Dinner. This year, the Reno-Tahoe Open is having a collection of past tournament champions of its own -- except it’s on top of the leaderboard.
Vaughn Taylor, winner of the event in 2004 and 2005, leads the field at 9 under. He’s shot rounds of 69-66, and is one shot ahead of 2006 champion Will MacKenzie.
“Obviously the course has to fit your eye, and then the altitude is definitely an adjustment.” Taylor said. “I think anywhere you play well when you come back, especially if you win, you come back and a lot of good memories and feelings, and, you know, it can turn things around for you.”
Champions Steve Flesch (2007), Chris Riley (2002) and Notah Begay (1999) are also all inside the top 6 on the leaderboard.
MacKenzie said it’s the idiosyncrasies of Montreux Golf & Country Club that have allowed past champions to do well this year.
“Like, this putt is just historically fast or this putt don't go away from Mount Rose quite as much or this putt does go away from Mount Rose harder than you think,” he said. “And just trusting yardages. Trusting you're hitting 7-iron downhill on No. 9 - or 18 now rather -- from 230. That's the actual yardage.”
The switch of Montreux Golf and Country Club’s front and back nines was intended to add more drama to the finish on Sunday.
On Thursday, however, early leaders have taken advantage of the new finishing holes. The six players currently on top have played Nos. 16, 17 and 18 at a combined 8 under.
Current clubhouse leader Nick O’Hern birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to shoot a bogey-free 65. Steve Flesch, who shot a 4-under 68, also birdied the two finishing holes.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- TPC River Highlands is still wet and therefore susceptible to low scores. Case in point: Steve Flesch, who shot a 7-under 63 early Sunday to finish his week at 11 under.
There are also a fair amount of soft spots on the course, according to Flesch. “The very first hole I drove it down the right side and had a big glob of mud on the ball,” he said. “There’s a fine line if we should have played the ball up or not.”
Ian Poulter made the mistake of playing it up on his very first hole. Thinking they were still playing lift, clean and place, Poulter picked up his ball on No. 1 before being informed that they’re playing the ball down. He suffered a one-stroke penalty as a result.
Dean Wilson, who was playing with Flesch, nearly did the same thing a couple of times before his caddie stopped him. However there are signs posted throughout the clubhouse indicating the ball is being played down.
VCU alum John Rollins and former Kentucky Wildcat Steve Flesch talk about their teams playing this week in the Final Four.
Steve Flesch made the first birdie of the rain-delayed Sony Open in Hawaii on Friday. He was in the first group off the 10th hole, which is a 351-yard par 4, when the first round began – a day late – as 12:10 p.m. ET.
Flesch hit his drive 275 yards into the fairway, chipped to 18 feet and made the putt. His playing partners, Joe Durant and Shane Bertsch, made pars.
The first birdie among the rookies came from Jim Renner, who was a late add to the Sony Open field when Ricky Barnes withdrew with a back injury. Renner made a 3 at the 10th hole when he tapped in from 5 inches after a pin-point chip from 51 yards.
You can add Steve Flesch’s name to the list of contenders now, too, after Flesch shot a 66 that included a hole-out for eagle on the par-4 sixth. With his ball in the right rough off one of the few fairways Flesch missed all day, he jarred it from 150 yards.
Flesch hasn’t had a top-10 this season -- his last one came at last year’s Masters -- but he’s in the top 10 now, moving up 26 spots into a tie for seventh. Flesch is just three shots back of Fredrik Jacobson, who just turned in a 65 to get to 11 under. -- Brian Wacker
Steve Flesch is one of the few players making a move up the leaderboard here in the afternoon, making the turn in 4 under. One of his four birdies was this long one on the par-4 15th.
Steve Flesch sinks a long birdie putt on the par-4 15th.
Here’s what we know so far about TPC San Antonio: The back nine is playing a lot easier than the front. The latest example? Steve Flesch, who started on the back, has birdied four of his first six holes. Even more impressive? He’s taken just five putts – Flesch holed out from off the green on the par-5 14th.
Flesch’s start also proves that you don’t have to be a bomber like J.B. Holmes to succeed on this course. Flesch averages just 269 yards off the tee, which ranks 168th on the PGA TOUR. -- Brian Wacker