Storylines: News Sentinel Open Presented by Pilot

August 21, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

Midwest Classic champion Shawn Stefani became the 12th first-time winner in 18 Tour events this year and the fifth rookie to win. The Houston, Texas resident and 2005 Lamar University graduate fired a Sunday-best 64 to earn a two-shot victory over Luke List and Russell Henley. "When the year started I had a couple of goals," Stefani said. "One was to win a tournament and the other was to finish in the top 25 and earn my PGA TOUR card." He clearly took giant strides toward achieving his goals on Sunday, moving to 12th on the money list.


LUKE LIST RETURNS TO NO. 1 -- Luke List, who was No. 1 on the money list for three weeks this spring, regained the top spot on Sunday with his T2 finish at the Midwest Classic presented by Cadillac.

RUSSELL HENLEY FINDING HIS FORM -- In early July, Russell Henley found himself 102nd on the money list. With three top 10s in his last five starts, including Sunday's T2 in Kansas City, the 2011 University of Georgia grad is now in "The 25" picture at No. 31. Henley's name is already in the Tour's record books. In May 2011, the Macon, Ga. native became only the second amateur to win a Tour event, the Stadion Classic at UGA.

PLAYOFF IMPACT -- The 2012 FedExCup Playoffs are set to begin this Thursday with The Barclays at Bethpage State Park/Black Course on Long Island. Of the 125 players who qualified for the Playoffs, 80 are Tour alumni. The last two FedExCup winners, Jim Furyk (2010) and Bill Haas (2011), formerly played the Tour.

BUILDING ON SUCCESS IN KNOXVILLE -- Last year a new host organization in the News Sentinel, Eastern Tennessee's leading newspaper and prominent media group in the region, helped draw the support of other leading companies such as Pilot and propel the News Sentinel Open into a tournament full of energy and a community happening. Tournament officials have worked hard over the last 12 months to build on last year successes.

Among this week's News Sentinel Open activities are; 1) Food City Jr. Clinic (Sunday), 2) South College "Shootout" featuring seven pro/celebrity teams, including the pairing of Casey Wittenberg and Tour president Bill Calfee (Tuesday), and 3) Ruby Tuesday Pro-Am featuring former UT coaches Phil Fulmer and Bruce Pearl, among others (Wednesday). The field includes players with local ties, Knoxville native Wes Roach, former All-SECer Philip Pettitt Jr. (University of Tennessee) and former college All-Americans David Skinns (University of Tennessee) and Garrett Willis (East Tennessee State), who still lives in the area. Also in the field are two-time major champions John Daly and Lee Janzen.

SERGIO GARCIA / SPANNING TWO TOURS AT SEDGEFIELD -- Sergio Garcia's win on Monday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. came 14 years after he finished T3 at the same course in his third and last Tour start in 1998. Joe Ogilvie was the winner of the then-Nike Greensboro Open.

KEEPING UP WITH BEN KOHLES -- Ben Kohles made the cut in his first PGA TOUR start at the Wyndham Championship last week (T70), playing on a sponsor's exemption about 70 miles from his Cary, N.C. home. A tired Kohles is taking this week off after playing four straight TOUR-sanctioned events. The 22-year-old made history a few weeks ago when he won in his first two starts (Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational and Cox Classic) as a professional on the Web.Com Tour.

2012 BMW CHARITY PRO-AM RAISES $634,571 -- Last Thursday, the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation announced its 2012 event raised $634,571 for 27 Upstate charities in South Carolina. Since 2001, the tournament has raised more than $9.25 million for more than 150 charities.


LUKE GUTHRIE DOES IT AGAIN -- Luke Guthrie is now 4-for-4 in securing top-10 finishes on the Tour since finishing up his playing days at the University of Illinois this spring. The Quincy, Ill. native added a T6 finish in the Midwest Classic to a playoff runner-up, a T3 and a T10. After four straight starts, Guthrie is not playing this week in Knoxville.

DID YOU KNOW? -- Luke Guthrie is 13 hours short of a business management degree at the University of Illinois. Despite his chase to secure a PGA TOUR card via "THE 25" on the Tour this summer/fall, Guthrie plans to complete his degree by taking two courses online and two others which require class attendance. He will room with his older brother, Zach, who is an Illini assistant coach in Champaign, Ill. and has been his caddie in some of the Tour/PGA TOUR events he's played this summer.

"School starts on the 27th so I'm going to try and juggle school with playing on some of the (Tour) events for the rest of the season," Guthrie told John Dell for his Tour insider for PGATOUR.COM. "I'll find a way to make it work."

BIRTHDAY BOY -- Celebrating his birthday this week in Knoxville is Bio Kim, the Tour's youngest member. He turns 22 on Tuesday (Aug. 21st).

NEXT WEEK -- From Tennessee, the Tour heads north to the Pittsburgh area for the Mylan Classic at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg, Pa. (Aug. 30 -- Sept. 2).