First Look: Tour Championship

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Trevor Immelman is shooting for a second win in the Tour Finals.
September 20, 2013
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM

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COURSE: TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley), 6,864 yards, par 70. Opened in 1987, the “other” course at Sawgrass has staged its own share of high-profile events including the SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (1988-89) and Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open (2010-12). The collaboration of Stadium Course designer Pete Dye, Bobby Weed and Jerry Pate features wider fairways and larger greens, yet ranked as the Tour’s fourth-toughest layout last year. Dye’s Valley topped the list in 2011.

PURSE: $1 million.

CHARITY: More than Jacksonville-area 60 organizations participate in the tournament’s “Tee it Up for Charity” ticket program, including the Florida School for the Deaf & Blind, Shannon Miller Foundation, North Florida Junior Golf Association and Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville.

FIELD WATCH: Trevor Immelman and Andrew Svoboda, winners of the first two Finals events, head the list of 128 men with varying goals in the season finale. Seung-Yul Noh, who moved to No.1 on the moneyt list after winning the Nationwide Children’s Championship, will stand on his $210,125 after rewarding himself with a trip home to his native South Korea. … Patrick Cantlay also will stand on his total, his $108,000 from finishing runner-up at the Hotel Fitness Championship still good for No. 7 on the list. … Every other player in the top 100 in Finals earnings will tee it up at Dye’s Valley.

72-HOLE RECORD: 264, Richard Johnson (2007 at Barona Creek GC).

18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Michael Letzig (1st round, 2007 at Barona Creek GC).

LAST YEAR: Justin Bolli charged to a PGA TOUR promotion on the final day, using a 6-under-par 65 to push two strokes past James Hahn at TPC Craig Ranch. Bolli began the week at No. 44 on the money list, but jumped all the way to No. 9 with the fourth win of his Tour career. Hahn already had his card locked up, but knocked Adam Hadwin out with the last birdie of his 65. Hahn finished alone in second, with Hadwin falling into a tie for third that dropped his season earnings below the Top 25 threshold. Morgan Hoffmann (64) also tied for third and moved into the Top 25; Doug LaBelle II (13th) was the third man to snatch a late card.

STORYLINES: The Tour Finals steams toward its finish, with PGA TOUR cards awaiting the top 25 in Finals earnings that didn’t qualify during the Tour’s regular season. Ten of the top 30 on the Finals money list already have cards, dropping the line for new grads down to No. 37 Steve Wheatcroft. … Joining Wheatcroft on the bubble are No. 36 Alistair Presnell, No. 35 Camilo Benedetti and No. 34 Spencer Levin. … With top-heavy purses allowing players to essentially lock up a card with a top-5 finish, as few as 10 cards truly may be up for grabs this week. … The race also is on to displace Noh atop the money list, which brings a higher entry category next season and a guaranteed berth in THE PLAYERS Championship. Everyone down to No. 29 Troy Merritt has a chance.

SHORT CHIPS: Though Levin already is guaranteed a full PGA TOUR season next year via medical exemption, he’ll get a card if he’s among the top 25 not previously qualified. The medical exemption, though, gives him a higher priority level. … Dye’s Valley is the 11th course to host the Tour Championship, going back to Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge GC for the first edition in 1993. Eight were held along Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, with five at the Capitol Hill locale in Prattville (2001-05).

TELEVISION: Thursday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).

RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, 2-6 p.m. ET (PGATOUR.COM and SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).