Notes: A new money leader for the first time since MarchBoo Weekley and John Daly will be making appearances this week on the Nationwide Tour at the News Senteniel Open presented by Pilot.August 23, 2011
Jeff Adams, Nationwide Tour staff
The Nationwide Tour heads to Fox Den Country Club, Knoxville, Tenn. this week for the News Senteniel Open presented by Pilot, Aug. 25-28. The purse is $500,000, with $90,000 going to the winner. Last year's champion Chris Kirk is in the field this week at The Barclays. The field is set with 156 players who will compete in the 18th of 26 Nationwide Tour events.
A NEW NUMBER 1 -- For the first time since the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March (13-tournament stretch), the Nationwide Tour has a new leading money winner. With Mathew Goggin idle last week and J.J. Killeen finishing T4, Killeen moved atop the money list with $349,320 in 17 starts. Goggin holds down No. 2 with $343,852.
76% WINNING RATE ON PGA TOUR -- The PGA TOUR's regular season concluded at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday with Nationwide Tour alumni maintaining a 76% win ratio on the PGA TOUR this year. Of the 37 events played, 28 have been claimed by former Nationwide Tour players. Webb Simpson's win in Greensboro was the 316th overall. The 28 wins ties the mark for most alumni wins on the PGA TOUR in a single season, which was set last year. There are eight official TOUR events remaining.
PLAYOFFS FOR THE FEDEXCUP -- The number of Nationwide Tour alumni who qualified for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup climbed to a record 87 this year. Last year the figure was 83. In 2009, it was 78. Of this year's 125 participants, 14 played on the Nationwide Tour last year, including nine of the top 50.
AUSSIE JAMES NITTIES IN WINNER'S CIRCLE -- James Nitties took a big step on Sunday toward returning to the PGA TOUR where he played in 2009 and 2010. The Melbourne, Australia native who resides in Dallas, Texas pulled away from his fellow contenders with three birdies over the last seven holes to collect his first Nationwide Tour title at the Midwest Classic. J.J. Killeen, who was shooting for his third triumph in four weeks and a battlefield promotion to the PGA TOUR, provided Nitties plenty of breathing room when he went bogey, triple-bogey on the 14th and 15th holes. Killeen was only one shot back standing on the 14th tee.
FAN FAVORITES JOHN DALY, BOO WEEKLEY AND ROCCO MEDIATE NATIONWIDE TOUR BOUND -- Two-time major champion John Daly will spend the next two weeks competing on the Nationwide Tour. He will be joined in Knoxville for this week's News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot by two-time PGA TOUR winner Boo Weekley. Daly played at Fox Den Country Club last year (T42) in one of two 2010 Tour appearances, his only two since 1990. Next week, Daly heads to the Pittsburgh area for the Mylan Classic, where he will be joined by another fan favorite and western Pennsylvania native, Rocco Mediate.
LIKING THE MIDWEST -- Sweden's Jonas Blixt is a cumulative 53-under par over the Tour's recent three-week stretch in Omaha, Springfield, MO. and Kansas City. The former Florida State University All-American has finished T2, T39 and T2 to jump from 47th to 11th on the money list with $156,022. Blixt is poised to earn a PGA TOUR card for the first time, having finished 43rd and 59th on the Nationwide Tour the last two seasons. He will be at Fox Den Country Club this week where he enjoyed a T7 finish last year.
DAWIE VAN DER WALT'S AMAZING ESCAPADE -- Thinking he was well off the cut line at the Midwest Classic last Friday, Dawie Van Der Walt left Kansas City for his Houston home only to learn while changing planes in Dallas that he had indeed made the cut. After a disconcerting night, the South African made it to the first tee on Saturday with literally seconds to spare, changing from shorts to pants in the middle of the street adjacent to the first tee. With no warm up or stretching, he fired a 63, which he followed up with a 67 on Sunday to record his best Tour finish (T11) in 13 starts. Read more about Dawie's 12-hour escapade here.
TOYING WITH 59 -- Scott Dunlap was the latest Nationwide Tour player to flirt with 59. The former University of Florida star finished par-birdie on Friday at the Nicklaus Golf Course at LionsGate to post an 11-under 60. It was his lowest 18-hole round ever on the Nationwide Tour, by two shots. Dunlap finished T25. Earlier this year, Travis Hampshire and Steve Wheatcroft fired 60. There have been three rounds of 59 on the Nationwide Tour and 12 rounds of 60 since the Tour's inception in 1990.
SHORT ANSWER -- PGA professional Mark Bradley asked his son, Keegan, how he was able to be so consistent and calm en route to his recent PGA Championship victory. He elicited a two word response -- "Nationwide Tour"! Source: Jackson Hole News
"GETAWAY" PROMOTION ENTERS 4th WEEK -- Golf Channel's "Nationwide Tour Hawaii Getaway" promotion enters its fourth week. One person will win a trip for two to the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii where the Nationwide Tour class of 2011 will make its 2012 PGA TOUR debut. Fans may enter online by answering player trivia questions here.
DID YOU KNOW?? -- Through the first 11 events of 2011, only one winning score exceeded 20-under par (Steve Wheatcroft/Melwood Prince George's County Open/-29). Five of the last six winning scores have bettered 20-under, with the average score being -22.5.
NEXT WEEK -- It's on to the Pittsburgh area for the Mylan Classic at Southpointe Country Club in Canonsburg, Pa. (Sept. 1-4).