Nationwide Tour Storylines -- Week of June 18, 2007June 19, 2007
PGA TOUR staff
What?? KNOXVILLE OPEN PRESENTED BY FOOD CITY When?? June 18-24 Where?? Fox Den Country Club, Knoxville, TN Purse: $475,000 First Prize: $85,500 This is the 15th of 32 events
HUNTER HAAS AFTER RECORD THIRD KNOXVILLE WIN -- Should University of Oklahoma product Hunter Haas win this week's Knoxville Open presented by Food City, he will become the first player in Nationwide Tour history to win the same title three times. Haas won the event in 2004 and 2006. A win would also mean a successful title defense, which would also be a first in Tour history.
ONE OF ONLY FOUR -- Knoxville is one of four cities that has been a host of a Nationwide Tour event every year since the Tour's inception in 1990. Springfield, Mo. (Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper), Wichita, Kan. (Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open) and Boise, Idaho (Albertsons Boise Open presented by First Health) round out the foursome.
MAKING HER BROTHER PROUD -- You'll have to pardon the Tour's No. 2 money winner Nicholas Thompson if his mind drifts to the U.S. Women's Open next week. His little sister, Alexis, will be making history as the championship's youngest contestant ever when she tees off at Pine Needles Lodge & Club in Southern Pines, N.C. At the age of 12 years, four months and one day, she earned one of eight available spots in Orlando, Fla. on June 11th, bettering Morgan Pressel's previous age mark of 12 years, 11 months and 21 days old when she qualified for the 2001 Women's Open. The Thompsons reside in Coral Springs, Fla. Nicholas is 24.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES -- With his victory Sunday in the Rochester Area Charities Showdown at Somerby presented by Think, Chris Riley all of a sudden finds himself in the midst of THE 25 and the prospect of retaining fully-exempt playing privileges on the PGA TOUR in 2008. Riley, who has played in only six PGA TOUR events this year given his limited status, collected $90,000 and vaulted from T204 to 20th on the money list. The top 25 at season's end will earn TOUR cards.
LOVEMARK MAKES HIS MARK, QUICKLY -- University of Southern California star Jamie Lovemark didn't waste any time making an impression on the Nationwide Tour. Playing on a sponsor's exemption in his first Tour event, he fired a 7-under-par 65 on Sunday in the Rochester Area Charities Showdown at Somerby presented by Think to leap from tied for 24th into a playoff with Chris Riley. Riley, who two-putted from 99 feet for birdie on the final hole of regulation, outlasted Lovemark for the victory with a par on the second playoff hole. The runner-up finish matched the best-ever by an amateur in a Nationwide Tour event (Charles Howell at the 2000 Greensboro Open one week before turning pro). Lovemark is a 19-year-old who just completed his freshman year at USC in grand style when he won the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship individual title and was subsequently named first-team All-American, Jack Nicklaus College Player of the Year and winner of the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation's outstanding freshman. Lovemark, who remains an amateur, is eligible to compete in next month's Nationwide Tour Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
U.S. OPEN RESULTS -- Of the 63 players who made the cut in last week's U.S. Open, 30 have played full time on the Nationwide Tour at one point. Five players (Jim Furyk, David Toms, Bubba Watson, Jerry Kelly and Stephen Ames) finished within the top 10 (and ties).
CASHING IN EARLY -- It's only mid June and four graduates of the 2006 Nationwide Tour class have already reached the $1-million mark in PGA TOUR earnings -- Boo Weekley, Ken Duke, Jeff Quinney and Brandt Snedeker.
ZEROING IN ON THE FEDEXCUP -- With 11 events remaining prior to the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, 16 of last year's 22 Nationwide Tour graduates are inside the top 144 in FedEx Cup points, which will qualify for the Playoffs.