First Look: Chiquita Classic

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Jonathan Byrd is scheduled to make his first Tour start since 2001 next week.
August 30, 2013

CHIQUITA CLASSIC: Field list | Course overview | WEB.COM TOUR FINALS: Complete coverage

• COURSE: River Run Country Club, 7,321 yards, par 72. A collaboration of Robert Walker and Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd, River Run opened in 1990 and has been the site of several U.S. Open qualifiers and the annual Davidson College Invitational. A 2008 upgrade included new bunkering with grass faces and soft edges, and River Run’s bentgrass greens were converted last summer to the hardier Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda.

• PURSE: $1 million.

• CHARITY: United Way of Central Carolinas, which provides support to 87 partner agencies over a five-county region surrounding Greater Charlotte. The First Tee of Charlotte also receives a portion of tournament proceeds.

• FIELD WATCH: Spencer Levin, Jonathan Byrd and Tom Gillis are the other newcomers to the Finals field, bringing the total of entrants at River Run to 133. … Every player who teed it up at the Hotel Fitness Championship has committed to River Run, though Matt Bettencourt (back) and Brett Stegmaier (wrist) withdrew early.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 261, Tommy Gainey (2010 at TPC River’s Bend).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 62, Peter Tomasulo (1st round, 2010 at TPC River’s Bend), Tommy Gainey (3rd round, 2010 at TPC River’s Bend).

• LAST YEAR: Russell Henley shook off a closing bogey to win a playoff for his second Tour victory, defeating Morgan Hoffmann and Patrick Cantlay on the first extra hole at The Club at Longview. Henley had gone 42 holes without a bogey until driving into a fairway bunker at No.18 and rinsing his second shot. But he was the one to escape calamity in the playoff, as Cantlay found the same fairway bunker and Hoffmann dumped his approach into the water. Cantlay still had a chance to extend the playoff, but missed a 15-foot par save that left Henley standing alone. The victory was Henley’s first as a professional, having captured the Stadion Classic as an amateur on his home University of Georgia course.

• STORYLINES: Though it’s still early, the pressure turns up on some prominent names who made early exits in Fort Wayne. Chris DiMarco and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa both missed the cut by a shot, with other MCs posted by Dicky Pride, Ricky Barnes and last year’s Tour money leader Casey Wittenberg. … Eight of the Tour’s 25 graduates also have ground to make up after missed cuts. Though their cards are locked in, they’d fall to the bottom of next year’s priority list. … River Run CC becomes the Chiquita Classic’s third host venue in four years. The event spent two years at TPC River’s Bend outside Cincinnati (2010-11), before coming to North Carolina and The Club at Longview.

• SHORT CHIPS: The field features three Charlotte residents: Mathew Goggin, Robert Karlsson and Fernando Mechereffe. In addition, Tom Hoge was born in nearby Statesville. In all, 11 pros have North Carolina ties and eight others from South Carolina. … Russell Knox, who won the 2011 event in Cincinnati, is the only one of three former Chiquita Classic champions in this week’s field. … Scott Dunlap comes to River Run with a streak of 12 consecutive under-par rounds in the tournament, dating back to the inaugural 2010 edition in at TPC River’s Bend.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 4-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (GC).