Nationwide storylines: Strong field gathers in Boise

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Former q-school medalist Carl Paulson is making his first start in five years this week at Hillcrest.
September 14, 2010

BOISE, Idaho -- One of the year's strongest fields is gathered at the Albertsons Boise Open presented by Kraft this week. "The 25" leading money winners are entered and all but three of the top 60. One player who will be in the field is 1999 champion Carl Paulson. The 39-year-old has not teed it up in a TOUR-sanctioned event since 2005, when he made six of 13 cuts on the PGA TOUR.


Paulson's last start was the U.S. Bank Championship last July, but he withdrew before the event. His last Nationwide Tour start was the 2005 Chitimacha Louisiana Open (missed cut). When he tees off on Thursday it will be a span of five years, one month and 23 days since his last TOUR start in Milwaukee and five years, five months and 22 days since his last Nationwide Tour start.

Paulson, the PGA TOUR's q-school medalist in 1995, led the Nationwide Tour's money list in 1999.

BOISE STATE REUNION -- Former Boise State University golfers and PGA TOUR members Troy Merritt and Graham DeLaet will be in the Albertsons Boise Open field this week as will another former Bronco, Tyler Aldridge.

Merritt, who earned his PGA TOUR card via the Nationwide Tour last year, is 119th on the PGA TOUR money list with $669,073. DeLaet is 10 spots further down the money list with earnings of just under $600,000. Both have a season-best finish of third place.

SATURDAY'S TELECAST TO TAKE INNOVATIVE APPROACH -- GOLF Channel is planning a unique telecast for Saturday's third round of the Albertsons Boise Open. In lieu of the traditional approach to a golf telecast, host Jerry Foltz and analyst Curt Byrum will limit their comments while letting the action unfold. The duo will interact with viewers via social media channels such as Twitter.

On-course reporters Kay Cockerill and Stephanie Sparks will abandon the standard role of following specific groups and be positioned at "interview stations" at the difficult par-3 13th hole at host Hillcrest Country Club and the drivable par-4 15th. Phil Parkin will be dispatched to the practice tee and putting green to give viewers live lessons on what players work on after a round on the Nationwide Tour.

Increased use of on-course microphones will allow viewers to eavesdrop on player/caddie and player-to-player conversations. GOLF Channel plans to have one player wear a microphone, with his comments being screened and tape delayed. Enhanced on-screen statistical and biographical graphics will supplement the absence of commentary.

It is anticipated that a former Nationwide Tour alum who is now on the PGA TOUR will call in during the telecast. Saturday, Sept. 18, will allow GOLF Channel and the Nationwide Tour to stretch the boundaries of a traditional golf telecast. With no PGA TOUR, Champions Tour or LPGA events scheduled this week, the Nationwide Tour will have the domestic stage to itself. It should be interesting. Saturday's telecast will air from 4:30-7 p.m. ET (same times on Thursday, Friday and Sunday).


FULFILLING PROMISE -- Michael Putnam became the 12th first-time winner on the Nationwide Tour this year through 22 events. Putnam's win in the Utah Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission on Sunday came in his 98th Nationwide Tour start dating back to 2006. The 6-foot-4 Putnam was a first-team All-American at Pepperdine, runner-up in the 2005 NCAA Championship and member of the victorious 2005 U.S. Walker Cup team. A talented athlete, he was also first-team all-Washington in basketball as a high school senior. Putnam's wife Kristina is expecting their first child the week of the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C., in late October.

CHRIS NALLEN ALSO FINDING HIS FORM -- With a T7 finish in Utah on Sunday, Chris Nallen notched his fifth top-10 of the year. The four-time University of Arizona All-American, who has experienced his share of ups and downs since turning pro in 2004, has made the cut in his last nine starts. He may have been the victim of too much success too soon early in his career. Nallen became the first player to Monday qualify on the Nationwide Tour, then not only win in his first start (Gila River Golf Classic in Arizona) but led from start to finish. Nallen, 28, retained the 16th spot on the money list in his quest to earn a PGA TOUR card for the first time.

CHRIS KIRK CRUISING -- Chris Kirk padded his lead atop the money list with his 11th top-20 finish of the year in Utah (T17) and No. 2 Jamie Lovemark taking last week off. The 25-year-old former college player of the year out of the University of Georgia has earned $407,673 and leads Lovemark by $14,385. He had a hole-in-one during Thursday's opening round, which he wound up leading at the end of the day.

RECORD CHARITY EFFORT IN COLUMBUS -- The Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational recently announced a tournament record donation of $642,500 to area charities, including $550,000 for pediatric cancer research and treatment at the Nationwide Children's Hospital. In addition, the tournament's 2010 Charity Ticket Program generated over $1.3 million in value for central Ohio charities.

RYDER CUP -- The now complete U.S. Ryder Cup team that will be heading to Wales in two weeks features seven Nationwide Tour alums -- Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jeff Overton, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson. This is two more alumni than the 2008 team and is second only to the 2006 team, which had nine.

NEXT WEEK -- The Nationwide Tour heads to west Texas for the 19th WNB Golf Classic at Midland Country Club in Midland.