Notes: Lingmerth battles Woods, Garcia to the wire at THE PLAYERS

May 13, 2013

DAVID LINGMERTH BATTLES TIGER, SERGIO TO THE WIRE – In a modern day “David” vs. Goliath scenario, 2012 Tour graduate David Lingmerth went down to the wire with the world’s No. 1 player Tiger Woods and No. 13 Sergio Garcia on Sunday at THE PLAYERS.  With a five-year exemption and $1.71 million first prize on the line, the 25-year-old Swede, who entered the week 162nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, nearly holed a greenside bunker shot for eagle at the par-5 16th and ran an eight-foot birdie putt by the edge on No. 17.  Had the two shots gone down, Lingmerth might have ended up being the first rookie to win the PGA TOUR’s flagship event.  As things turned out, Woods claimed his second PLAYERS by two shots, with Garcia dropping to T8 after a disastrous 7-6 finish. Though the win escaped him, Lingmerth set a new rookie mark at THE PLAYERS with his T2 finish and earned the respect of his peers and golf fans everywhere.  “It was a great week overall,” he said.  “I’m in it to win it…I felt good all day. I was in a good state of mind. I felt like I was swinging it good, and I had no worries. I was struggling a bit with my putter, though.”

RUNNER-UP NO. 2 – THE PLAYERS Championship was David Lingmerth’s second runner-up of this his rookie year on the PGA TOUR. In January, he was a playoff runner-up to Brian Gay at the Humana Challenge in Palm Springs, Calif.  The former University of Arkansas All-American collected a check for $709,333 and leaped from 71st to 31st in the FedExCup.  Lingmerth got his 2013 PGA TOUR card via the Tour last year when he finished 10th on the money list.  In December, he moved from Fayetteville, Ark. to Jacksonville Beach, Fla. and makes TPC Sawgrass at TOUR headquarters his home practice facility. In his first year on the Tour in 2011, he finished third when the Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass hosted the Tour.

DAVID & CASEY – The Tour’s impact on the PGA TOUR couldn’t have been on display more Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach.  David Lingmerth was joined by fellow Class of 2012 Tour graduate Casey Wittenberg in the top 10 at THE PLAYERS. The duo was paired in Saturday’s third round. Wittenberg, who was the Tour’s leading money winner and Player of the Year last year, began the final round one shot back of leaders Lingmerth and Sergio Garcia.  He shot 76 to finish T8.  A third 2012 grad, James Hahn, also made the cut (T62) in his first PLAYERS.

WEB.COM TOUR BACK IN ACTION - After a week off during PLAYERS Championship week, the Tour resumes play this week in Upstate South Carolina. The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation is the ninth of 21 Regular Season events. To date there have been eight different winners, with five being one-stroke margins. There have been no playoffs this year.  Edward Loar leads the money list ($199,583) by almost $50,000 over his closest pursuer, Benjamin Alvarado of Chile.

GOLF CHANNEL ALSO BACK IN ACTION – Golf Channel will air its first of ten Tour tournaments in 2013 this week from Greenville.  Among its ten tournament telecasts will be the four Tour Finals in September.  All four will air in High Definition, which will set the table for 2014 when every Tour telecast will be in HD.

BMW IS UNIQUE WEEK ON TOUR - With its pro-celebrity/amateur format played over three courses, the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation boasts the largest player field of the year, 168 professionals. There is no Open Qualifying for this event.  Thornblade Club is the lead venue for the sixth year in a row.  Greenville Country Club's Chanticleer Course returns to the rotation for the second year. New to the rotation this year is The Reserve at Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C.  Pros, amateurs and celebrities will rotate among the three courses Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a professional winner being crowned on Sunday at Thornblade in Greer, along with a winning celebrity/amateur team (see next item for more details). This is the 22nd year the Tour has played in Greenville and the surrounding area.

RETURN OF GRETZKYS AND KURT RUSSELL HIGHLIGHT LINEUP OF 28 CELEBRITIES – There are 28 celebrities committed to participate in the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation. The lineup includes the return of Kurt Russell and Wayne and Janet Gretzky, plus other notables such as Anthony Anderson, Lucas Black, Craig T. Nelson, John O'Hurley, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Pena, Patrick Warburton and Carolina Hurricanes hockey coach Kirk Muller. The 16 teams with the lowest scores will advance to compete for the pro-celebrity/pro-amateur division title on Sunday at Thornblade.

PLENTY OF SOUTH CAROLINA TIES - The BMW Charity Pro-Am is always well represented by players from South Carolina. This year's group includes Ben Martin (Greenwood/Clemson), Mark Anderson (Beaufort/USC), Matt Davidson (Greenville/Furman), Kyle Thompson (Greenville/USC), Brian Duncan (Mt. Pleasant/Clemson), Matt Hendrix (Greenville/Clemson), Phillip Mollica (Anderson/Clemson), Tommy Biershenk (Boiling Springs/Clemson), Brent Delahoussaye (Greenville/Clemson), Sam Saunders (Clemson), Kevin Johnson (Clemson) and Danny Ellis (Clemson).

UPSTATE CHARITABLE IMPACT – The BMW Pro-Am raised $634,571 for 27 Upstate charities in 2012, sixth highest on Tour last year. Since 2001, the event has generated $9.25 million for 150+ charities. Twenty charities will benefit this year.

PUTTING MAY HAVE BEEN THE DIFFERENCE – Stats suggest putting on Sunday may have gotten in the way of David Lingmerth becoming the first PGA TOUR rookie to win THE PLAYERS.  After recording 28, 24 and 26 putts the first three rounds, Lingmerth had 33 on Sunday.  He had just three three-putts over 72 holes, with two of them coming on the back nine on Sunday (10, 18).

NEXT WEEK – It’s on to Leon, Mexico for the Mexico Championship by Banamex (May 23-26) at El Bosque Country Club.