Notes: Putnam continues to roll in the FinalsSeptember 03, 2013
STRONG FINALS START IN FORT WAYNE; IT’S ON TO CHARLOTTE FOR CHIQUITA CLASSIC – The Web.com Tour Finals got off to a strong start at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Ind. last week. Enthusiastic crowds, a wonderful venue in Sycamore Hills Golf Club and a championship that came down to a pair of putts on the 72nd hole set a very good tone for the newly created series that will finalize the 50 players who get PGA TOUR cards for 2013-14. This week’s Chiquita Classic (Sept. 5-8) is the second of four Finals tournaments. River Run Country Club in the Charlotte, N.C. suburb of Davidson will host.
ANOTHER GREEN JACKET FOR TREVOR IMMELMAN – After finishing 143rd on the FedExCup points list, Trevor Immelman entered the Web.com Tour Finals on a mission – to regain his PGA TOUR card. After a week of solid ball striking and good putting, it was “mission accomplished” come Sunday afternoon. Immelman now turns his attention to finishing No. 1 on the Finals money list, the reward being fully exempt TOUR status for 2013-14, if successful. A final-round 66 allowed the 2008 Masters champion to make up five shots on third-round leader and the Web.com Tour’s youngest player, 21-year-old Patrick Cantlay. The winner drained a 16-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, then waited 30 minutes before Cantlay missed from 8 feet to tie him on the same hole. It was Immelman’s first win since capturing the green jacket at Augusta National. In a bit of irony, he was once again presented a green jacket on Sunday, this one courtesy of the host Western Golf Association, which will also oversee next week’s BMW Championship.
LET THE JOCKEYING BEGIN – The first 25 card earners through the Regular Season (except leading money winner Michael Putnam, who is fully exempt) are playing in the Finals to improve their 2013-14 PGA TOUR eligibility positions, which are used to form TOUR fields. Fourteen of those first 25 made the cut in Fort Wayne. Seven of them finished T24 or better- Kevin Kisner (13th/Regular Season), Putnam (1), Brendon Todd (20), Brice Garnett (14), Danny Lee (15), Peter Malnati (18) and Tim Wilkinson (10). The remaining 100+ players in the Finals are jockeying to be among the second set of 25 leading money winners who’ll get to start the PGA TOUR season in October. The pressure is already on and will build each week. It should be entertaining, provided you’re not one of the golfers inside the ropes, pulling clubs.
WEB.COM TOUR IN THE SPOTLIGHT – The FedExCup Playoffs are idle this week. They will resume next week with the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club near Chicago, while the Finals will be in Columbus, Ohio. The PGA TOUR is also off again during the week of the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass (Sept. 26-29). That off week comes between the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and The Presidents Cup. Here is the remaining 2013 PGA TOUR / Web.com Tour Finals schedule is:
Web.com Tour Finals
Chiquita Classic (Davidson, N.C.)
Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (Columbus, Ohio)
BMW Championship (Lake Forest, Ill.)
TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (Atlanta, Ga.)
Web.com Tour Championship (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
The Presidents Cup (Columbus, Ohio)
FIELD OF 130 – The Chiquita Classic field is 130 as of Tuesday afternoon. Three who did not play last week at Sycamore Hills Golf Club – Jonathan Byrd, Tom Gillis and Spencer Levin – will be at River Run. Kevin Na and Patrick Cantlay are the only players from last week’s field who will not be in North Carolina this week. Cantlay withdrew on Tuesday, something he indicated he might have to do when he completed play on Sunday in Fort Wayne. See note below for more on Cantlay.
MICHAEL PUTNAM CONTINUES TO ROLL – Regular Season leading money winner Michael Putnam carried his strong play into the Finals, finishing T7 and collecting $30,125. Asked about his plans to play the Finals after already wrapping up fully exempt status, Putnam said, “I’m a professional golfer. This is what we do for a living. And there are 180,000 reasons to be here!”
DEALING WITH PAIN – Hotel Fitness Championship runner-up Patrick Cantlay was playing only his third Web.com Tour event since May. On Sunday his ailing back clearly was still a concern, particularly after a few shots out of the rough. But after his round the young Californian said, “I’m not going to blame my play on my back because I played well all week despite it.” He went on to say, “I'm not sure (if I'm going to play in Charlotte). I've got to talk to some family and friends and see what's up and I've got to see how I'm feeling. It's a day-to-day situation.”
PGA TOUR / WEB.COM TOUR – Seventy-one players made the Hotel Fitness Championship cut last week. Thirty-six were off the Web.com Tour (Nos. 1-75 money list), 33 were off the PGA TOUR (126-200 FedExCup points) and two were eligible for the Finals off both lists (Brendon Todd, Russell Knox).
GOLF CHANNEL – Golf Channel resumes its high-definition coverage of the Web.com Tour Finals this week. The Chiquita Classic will air Thursday and Friday from 4 – 6 p.m. ET and 2 – 4 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. “Quest for the Card: Inside the Web.com Tour” will air on Wednesday from 5:30 – 6 p.m. ET.
BILL CALFEE TO APPEAR ON “MORNING DRIVE” ON WEDNESDAY – Web.com Tour president Bill Calfee is scheduled to appear on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday at approximately 8:15 a.m. ET to talk about the 2013 Web.com Tour season and specifically, the Web.com Tour Finals.
NEXT WEEK – The third leg of the Web.com Tour Finals, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, will be played in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio State University Golf Club/Scarlet Course (Sept. 12-15).