Notes: Seven Tour players survive cut at Merion

June 18, 2013

PUMPKIN RIDGE TO HOST FINAL REGULAR SEASON EVENT IN 2014 – On Friday, the Tour and Jeff Sanders Promotions announced a new event, the WinCo Foods Portland Open.  It will be the Tour’s final Regular Season event, beginning in August, 2014.  Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, site of Tiger Woods' third U.S. Amateur title in 1996 and Nancy Lopez's near miss at the U.S. Women's Open in 1997, will be the host site.  The 1994 Nike Tour Championship was played at Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek course.  At the end of the Regular Season, the 25 leading money winners will have secured half of the 50 available PGA TOUR cards for the 2014-15 season. An additional 25 will be determined at the four-event Tour Finals that will follow the WinCo Foods Portland Open in September.

SCOTT PAREL SNARES FIRST “W” – It took 171 starts, but Scott Parel got his first Tour win on Sunday at the Air Capital Classic in Wichita, Kan.  Interestingly, the 47-year-old Michigan native elected to concentrate on a Computer Science degree while attending the University of Georgia in lieu of trying to play college golf.  Upon graduation in 1986, he spent 10 years as a computer programmer before turning pro.  Parel’s best previous Tour finish was a playoff runner-up to James Hahn at last year’s Rex Hospital Open, which is where the Tour will be this week.  Parel moved from 153rd to 14th on the money list and into the thick of the competition to earn his PGA TOUR card for the first time.

SURVIVING MERION – Fourteen current Tour members played their way into the U.S. Open, with seven surviving the cut at highly demanding Merion Golf Club.  Mathew Goggin had the best finish of the group, a T21, followed by the Tour’s second leading money winner Edward Loar at T32.  Goggin’s opening-round 68 was one shot off leader Phil Mickelson’s pace and one of only five sub-par rounds that day.  Russell Knox, who has split his time between the PGA TOUR and Tour this year, was one of the five (69).

ATTENTION-GETTING ACE – Playing in his second U.S. Open, Shawn Stefani made ESPN’s “SportsCenter” when he aced the par-3 17th hole on Sunday with a 4-iron from 246 yards and provided an exuberant post-ace reaction. It was the first hole-in-one at Merion Golf Club in the five U.S. Opens played there. The Houstonian, who won twice on the Tour last year, carded a final-round 1-under 69, 16 shots better than his third-round 85. He finished T59.

HONORARY CHAIR, MR. BILLY CASPER - World Golf Hall of Fame member Billy Casper will serve as the Rex Hospital Open's honorary chair this week. The 51-time PGA TOUR winner will attend a variety of events during tournament week, including the Saturday evening (June 22nd) Chairman's Dinner, which is being billed as an "An Evening with Billy Casper presented by First Tennessee Bank".  Mr. Casper’s activities began on Sunday when he participated in the tournament’s Junior Invitational trophy presentation (see “Neat Story” note below).

LOOKING GOOD – Alex Aragon birdied the final hole on Sunday at Crestview Country Club to lock up second place.  The 2001 Stanford grad won the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas in April and is now third in earnings, which virtually assures him a PGA TOUR card for 2013-14.

STILL NO. 1 – Michael Putnam’s attempt at becoming the first Tour player to win three consecutively-scheduled tournaments was derailed at the Air Capital Classic when he missed the cut. The former Walker Cupper from the state of Washington still sits comfortably atop the money list, with a $132,876 advantage over Edward Loar.

NEAT STORY – Leesville High’s Carter Jenkins earned a second opportunity to play in the Rex Hospital Open this week when he fired an 8-under-par 63 to top a field of approximately 70 North Carolina high school golfers and win the RHO’s 7th Junior Invitational on Sunday at TPC Wakefield Plantation. Jenkins also won the event in 2011 at the age of 15.  His caddie will be former Leesville teammate and two-time Junior Invitational winner (2010, ’12) Grayson Murray, who just so happened to have played in last week’s U.S. Open. Jenkins and Murray will both attend UNC-Greensboro this fall.

MYLAN CLASSIC TO HONOR “THE KING” – The Mylan Classic and Washington County (Pa.) Chamber of Commerce will host a private dinner on Tuesday, July 30th at Southpointe Golf Club to pay tribute to the accomplishments, both on and off the golf course, of one of Pennsylvania’s favorite sons, Arnold Palmer.  Jim Rohr, Executive Chairman of PNC Financial Services Group, and Ed Stack, Chairman and CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, will co-chair the dinner.  Mr. Palmer has been a supporter of the Mylan Classic since its inception in 2010.  All proceeds from the dinner will benefit charity.  The Classic will tee off on Thursday, Aug. 1st.

NEXT WEEK – The Tour is in Evansville, Ind. for the 2nd United Leasing Championship presented by PTI (June 27-30).  Victoria National Golf Club is the host venue.