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July 26 2013

6:45 PM

First Look: Reno-Tahoe Open

Montreux Golf and Country Club offers some of the most stunning vistas on the PGA TOUR. (Dunn/Getty Images)

MORE: Full field

By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.com contributor

• COURSE: Montreux G&CC, 7,472 yards, par 72. Opened in 1997, the Jack Nicklaus design meanders among pine forest, seven lakes, four waterfalls and brilliant views of Mount Rose. The layout features a “Bear Trap” at Nos. 6-8, which includes a short par-3 over water and a 636-yard par-5 to the largest green on the course. A 2002 renovation introduced three new holes to the card, replacing Nos. 10-12. Montreux ranked sixth among the PGA TOUR’s toughest layouts in 2010, trailing only PGA National (Honda Classic) and Aronimink (AT&T National) among non-majors.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 300 points.

• CHARITY: More than 40 northern Nevada organizations receive money from the Reno-Tahoe Open Foundation, which has raised more than $2.2 million for charity since the tournament’s 1999 start. Among the recipients: Washoe County Schools, the Nevada Shakespeare Company and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

• FIELD WATCH: Woody Austin, who resurrected a dormant career with his victory two weeks ago in Mississippi, and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington head the lineup for the year’s only modified Stableford event. … Harrington is one of 10 major champions making the trip to Nevada’s highlands, as well as two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen and former Masters champs Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman. … Russell Knox makes his PGA TOUR return after firing a 59 at the Web.com Tour stop in Boise. … Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, a winner on the European Tour this year, gets in on a sponsor exemption.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: +43, J.J. Henry (2012). Stroke-play record: 267, Vaughn Taylor (2005).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: +17, J.B. Holmes (second round, 2012). Stroke-play record: 61, Scott Piercy (third round, 2011).

• LAST YEAR: J.J. Henry captured the first edition played under the modified Stableford scoring system, ending a six-year dry spell by holding off a late charge from Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha. Henry, whose only other PGA TOUR win came at Hartford in 2006, used three early birdies to pick up points before winds increased late in the day. Rocha could have won with an eagle at the par-5 final hole, but had to scramble for birdie after his approach kicked into the greenside gallery. Henry had gone 178 starts since his previous victory in Hartford. John Daly came in fifth, his best PGA TOUR finish since 2005.

• STORYLINES: Henry seeks to become the tournament’s second back-to-back champion, putting his name alongside Vaughn Taylor (2004-05). Five other former winners have the chance to join Taylor as two-time champions. … Austin makes his third consecutive start, which matches his 2013 total before he showed up at the Sanderson Farms Championship. He turns 50 next January, becoming eligible to join the Champions Tour. … It’s the second year of the modified Stableford format, which awards points based on a player’s performance at each hole. Eagles earn five points, birdies are worth two and pars zero, with bogeys deducting a point and double bogeys losing three.

• SHORT CHIPS: Since the tournament’s inception, Americans have captured all 14 editions of the Reno-Tahoe Open. France’s Jean Van de Velde came the closest to cracking the U.S. stranglehold, losing a playoff to Scott Verplank in 2000. … The 54-hole leader has gone on to win eight of the previous 14 editions, including the past two. … Erik Compton and Justin Leonard each finished last year’s event with fewer than 100 putts. Compton led the way with 98 putts, one fewer than Leonard.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Saturday, 7-9 p.m. EDT (Golf Channel). Sunday, 6:30-9 p.m. (GC).

• RADIO: None.

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