Check out the top five shots of the week from the Valero Texas Open and Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, featuring highlights from Bobby Clampett, John Cook, Ben Curtis, Bill Lunde and Cameron Tringale.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bill Lunde spent the last two days like a tourist, hanging out at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
But even with the theme parks beckoning, Lunde, who had missed the cut at the Children's Miracle Networks Hospitals Classic on Friday, couldn't leave the the game completely behind. He had to sneak a peak at Shot Tracker a couple of times a day.
That's because Cameron Tringale and Fabian Gomez both had a chance to tie Lunde and force a playoff for the Kodak Challenge title and its $1 million prize. Had either holed a shot from the 17th fairway for eagle, Lunde would have had more work to do.
Turns out, Lunde didn't need to worry. Just after 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, when Gomez's approach on the par 4 settled about 8 feet from the pin, the Californian was suddenly a millionaire.
The previous day, Lunde had been riding the monorail that snakes through the Disney property. He was looking down at his phone and realized he was right above the 17th green on the Magnolia Course -- just as Tringale was playing the hole.
"So I'm looking at my phone, we're at 17, I'm like, this is kind of meant to be," Lunde said.
The Kodak Challenge is a season-long competition that consists of a player's best scores on 18 of the 30 holes selected at various tournaments. Lunde made 17 birdies and one eagle to finish at 19 under. He said he was well aware of which hole was the Kodak Challenge one each week.
"More than anything, I think it was kind of cool to be able to make the birdies and makes eagles when I needed it the most," Lunde said. "With this whole deal on the line I knew how important those holes were. I'm also very relieved that it's over and I don't have a hole to worry about anymore. Be nice to play golf. I think I'm going to bogey the first three holes on 'em next year just so I don't have to ever think about it again."
Lunde was kidding, of course. That bonus will go a long way toward paying for that new house Lunde and his wife are contemplating. Sunday night there was going to be a nice dinner, and a party for family and friends is on tap for later when he gets home to Las Vegas.
"It'll be free for everybody except for Charley Hoffman who will be paying," Lunde chuckled, referring to his former UNLV teammate and good friend.
Lunde did say he had spoken to Bill Haas, who won the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus last month.
"He's like, ‘You know, you win this thing, it's something you got to go out and buy something you wouldn't buy,’" Lunde recalled. "You got to buy a car or something because it's like winning the lottery.
“I'm like, Maybe he's right. Maybe I should buy a car, but I don't really know what to get. I was thinking about Porsche, but I have a hard time justifying $150,000 for a car. It's not me."
Fabian Gomez is unsuccessful in his last swing at catching Bill Lunde, making Lunde the Kodak Challenge winner.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Bill Lunde is now $1 million richer.
Fabian Gomez has just hit his second shot from the 17th fairway. He needed to hole the shot for eagle to tie Lunde and force a playoff for the Kodak Challenge and its hefty bonus.
Gomez gave it a good try – landing 8 feet right of the pin. Earlier in the day, Cameron Tringale also had the opportunity but he ended up 17 feet away.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Sure, he missed the cut. But Bill Lunde is certainly paying close attention to the final round of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
At least to what happens at the 17th hole, that is. That’s because two players – Cameron Tringale and Fabian Gomez – could tie Lunde and force a playoff for the Kodak Challenge title and its $1 million bonus if either holes out for eagle there.
Lunde just texted a PGA TOUR media official to see whether tournament officials opted to move the tees up. They didn’t – although at 472 yards the par 4 is playing 19 shorter than it did on Saturday.
And Lunde has just dodged one bullet. Tringale’s second shot at the 17th hole did not find the cup, settling instead 17 feet from the pin.
Gomez, who started on the front nine, will get to the 17th hole around 3:15 p.m.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bill Lunde missed the cut at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, now two players stand between him and the $1 million Kodak Challenge bonus.
Lunde's lead is still two shots over Cameron Tringale but now Fabian Gomez has been added to the mix. Lunde is 19 under while Tringale and Gomez are both 17 under.
The Kodak Challenge consists of a player's best score any 18 of the 30 holes chosen for the competition. Gomez had played 18 entering this week's CMN Hospitals Classic.
When Gomez parred the 17th on the Magnolia Course -- this week's Kodak Challenge hole -- on Friday he was able to wipe out the triple bogey he made on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach earlier this year, changing his score from 14 under to 17 under.
So either Gomez or Tringale can tie Lunde if they can hole a shot from the fairway at the 17th this weekend. Should that happen, there would be a playoff at the same home after competition ends on Sunday.
An eagle on the 485-yard par for would be a challenge, but it's not unprecedented. There have been five eagles at the 17th during the tournament, most recently by Charles Warren in 2009.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The battle for the No. 1 spot on the PGA TOUR money list is off to a good start as Luke Donald and Webb Simpson have made the turn in 4 under and 2 under, respectively.
But another guy who stands to gain a lot at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic is the current leader, James Driscoll, who is playing the Palm Course and is 7 under through 12 holes. He’s one stroke ahead of Kevin Kisner, who is playing the more difficult Magnolia Course.
Driscoll started the week on the bubble for 2012 PGA TOUR cards, holding down the final all-exempt spot at No. 125. He’s $6,287 ahead of Bill Lunde, who still has a year left on his exemption for winning in 2010, and just over $12,000 up on last year’s q-school medalist, veteran Billy Mayfair.
Driscoll, who played at Virginia, is looking for his first PGA TOUR win. His best finish came earlier this year when he fired four rounds in the 60s and placed fifth at the Travelers Championship.
Kisner ranks 197th on the money list so he needs a big week, as well. The Nationwide Tour grad’s best finish of the year came last week at the McGladrey Classic when he tied for 26th.
Cameron Tringale's odds of catching Kodak Challenge leader Bill Lunde this week are not very favorable. But at least they aren't impossible.
Tringale needs to eagle the final Kodak Challenge hole, the 485-yard par-4 17th on the Magnolia Course at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Obviously, that will require a lengthy hole-out with his approach shot.
It has been done before.
In fact, Charles Warren made eagle on that hole just two years ago. That was the first eagle at the 17th since Lanny Wadkins pulled off the same trick in 1998, and just the fifth eagle on that hole since 1983.
If Tringale can eagle the hole, he could force a playoff with Lunde, who currently has a two-shot advantage in the race for the title and the $1 million prize. Lunde can clinch the title in regulation with an eagle.
In the event of a tie at the conclusion of the event, a playoff will be held on No. 17 until a winner is declared. Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic officials are prepared to place lights on the 17th to allow a playoff after dark, if necessary.
Last year, Troy Merritt defeated Rickie Fowler and Aaron Baddeley on the first playoff hole.
Bill Lunde entered this week with a two-shot advantage over Cameron Tringale in the season-long Kodak Challenge competition. The lead is now three.
Lunde, who is grouped with Tringale for the first two rounds at TPC Summerlin, applied even more pressure to his closest pursuer Friday by making a 14-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th -- this week’s Kodak Challenge hole.
Lunde and Tringale each birdied the hole in Round 1 when Lunde’s 51-foot eagle putt grazed the left edge of the cup before settling inches away for a tap-in birdie. Tringale, who ran his 37-foot eagle putt by the cup before settling for birdie on Thursday, found the left fairway bunker on Friday and only managed a par.
With just three holes remaining on the schedule, Lunde is certainly in the driver’s seat to win the $1 million Kodak bonus previously earned by Kevin Streelman and Troy Merritt. Tringale, currently tied for 9th at 6 under looks like he’ll have two more chances to eagle the 16th and cut his deficit back to two with the same number of holes (all of which are par 4s) left on the schedule.
Here's a look at the three remaining holes on the Kodak Challenge schedule: