Week 24 Approach Shots: Albertsons Boise Open

September 16, 2009

Chris Tidland, the Nationwide Tour's August Player of the Month, returns to Hillcrest Country Club this week for the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft. Last year, Tidland shot a final-round 64 to roll to a four-stroke title. The win was the first of Tidland's career, but the Oklahoma State product validated that victory with his second title earlier this season at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.

Quick Facts
WHAT: 24th of 29 Nationwide Tour events
WHEN: Sept. 17-20
WHERE: Boise, Idaho
COURSE: Hillcrest Country Club
WHAT'S AT STAKE: $725,000 purse ($130,500 for winner)
KEY LINKS: Tee times | Leaderboard | Tournament page | "THE 25"

Tidland has played two full seasons on the PGA TOUR and is a lock to make it a third as he enters this week second on the Nationwide Tour money list. The top 25 money winners at season's end will earn their 2010 PGA TOUR playing privileges.

HOME SWEET HOME: Troy Merritt, winner of the Mexico Open, returns to Boise where he attended college at Boise State. Merritt lived in Boise until earlier this year, when he moved to Arizona. The 23-year-old won his first Nationwide Tour title in only his 12th start at the 51st Mexico Open, thanks to a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff against Adam Bland of Australia. Merritt had a successful college career, winning nine times. He also won 12 tournaments at Winona State before transferring after his sophomore year. Seven of Merritt's nine tournament wins for Boise State came during his senior year.

HIGHLY ANTICIPATED: Prominent collegiate and amateur player Rickie Fowler and 22-year-old Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer, will be making their professional debuts in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event at the Albertsons Boise Open. For the 20-year-old Fowler, it will be his first start as a pro. He concluded his amateur career last week by helping the U.S. team win the Walker Cup. Saunders turned pro after the U.S. Amateur and has played on the Moonlight Tour. He was a member of the Clemson University golf team the last three years and resides in Windermere, Fla. His first TOUR start was in 2006 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on his home course, Bay Hill (missed cut). Both Fowler and Saunders received sponsor exemptions this week, along with Bobby Clampett and Andrew Magee.

ONE OF THE ORIGINALS: Boise and Hillcrest Country Club will be hosting the Nationwide Tour and the Albertsons Boise Open for the 20th consecutive year. Boise joins Knoxville, Tenn., (Knoxville Open), Springfield, Mo., (Price Cutter Charity Championship), and Wichita, Kan., (Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open), as the only cities to have continuously hosted events every year since the Tour's inception in 1990. The Albertsons Boise Open has generated more than $9.5 million for charities, making it the leader on Tour.

STACKED FIELD: With the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup down to 30 players, a host of PGA TOUR members are playing in Boise this week. There will be 14 members of last year's "THE 25," including Player of the Year, Brendon de Jonge, and two-time Tour winner, Colt Knost. Other notables in Boise are Notah Begay III, Jason Gore, George McNeill, Arron Oberholser and Chris Riley.

Weather forecast for the Albertsons Boise Open
Partly cloudy
Temp: 87 high/59 low
Temp: 90 high/64 low
Partly cloudy
Temp: 86 high/53 low
Temp: 75 high/51 low
DTN/Meteorlogix is the official weather provider of the PGA TOUR. For more information, click here
Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft
GIVING BACK The 2009 TICKETS Fore CHARTY program in Boise has generated $883,000. The unique program, which is implemented on the TOUR, Nationwide and Champions Tours to raise funds for local charities, was founded by Jeff Sanders Promotions, the tournament organizer in Boise.
THIS WEEK IN HISTORY Michelle Wie became both the first female and youngest player to compete in a Nationwide Tour event. The Hawaiian was 13 years, 11 months and 7 days old when she teed off in the final morning group off the first tee at the Albertsons Boise Open on Sept. 18, 2003.
SIM'S COMPETITION No. 2 on the money list with $327,647 in earnings, Chris Tidland has already secured his TOUR privileges for 2010. With leading money winner and three-time '09 champ Michael Sim headed to the TOUR, Tidland stands an outside chance of catching Sim, whose lead over Tidland is $200,000.

COURSE FOR THE TAKING: Peter Tomasulo has the all-time low scoring average at Hillcrest Country Club among players who have played a minimum of 10 rounds. Tomasulo has a career 68.31 stroke average. There have been 17 holes-in-one in tournament history, with seven coming at No. 17, five on No. 8, four on No. 4 and only one on No. 13. Ricky Barnes is the only player with more than one ace. He recorded holes-in-one on No. 4 in 2006 and No. 17 in 2007. Barnes has three career Nationwide Tour aces, with the other coming at the 2006 Movistar Panama Championship.