Notes: Races heats up as temperatures drop in Texas

October 24, 2012
Bill Nichols, PGATOUR.COM Contributor

MCKINNEY, Texas --Players will face some difficult conditions with forecasts calling for relatively cool temperatures and winds ranging from 10-30 mph.


The first and second rounds are expected to have the strongest winds with gusts between 20-30 mph. To complicate matters, breezes will come from the south on Thursday and then the north on Friday.

The biggest difference in play is that a north wind makes the par-5 10th and 18th reachable.

"Whenever the wind's blowing any direction it's very challenging, so I like the downwind holes,'' said Luke List, No. 4 on the money list. "Just be thankful for those and then fight hard on the into-the-wind holes.''

Temperatures will drop for the second round, ranging from 46 to 59 degrees, and then from 39 to 63 on the weekend.

VICTORY LAP: Ken Duke went from 36th to seventh in earnings by winning last year's Tour Championship. That jump made the difference in earning his PGA TOUR card.

Duke took advantage. In 29 starts on the PGA TOUR this season, he made 21 cuts, posted six top-10s and finished 42nd in the FedExCup standings.

STERN TEST AWAITS: When TPC Craig Ranch hosted the Tour Championship in 2008, Matt Bettencourt won with a score of 17-under 267.

With winds expected, that score could be tough to match. The course has matured since then.

"It's in perfect shape,'' Russell Henley said. "The greens are great, the fairways are great, there's plenty of length, and if we get some wind on Thursday and Friday, it should be a tough test for us.''