Notes: Svoboda becomes third two-time winner of 2013 season

September 10, 2013
PRESSURE RATCHETS UP AS FINALS REACH THIRD STAGE IN TOUR CARD CHASE – With the Tour Finals entering its third of four tournaments, pressure is clearly mounting inside the ropes for the approximately 130 players who are vying to either get to the PGA TOUR for the first time or to return there. Nationwide Insurance and Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course will host the Tour this week for the seventh year in a row. With Nationwide and OSU forming a strong tournament foundation, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship was tabbed to host one of the new Finals events this year. If history repeats itself, the Scarlet Course will produce one of the tougher tests of the year. In the six previous playings, the average winning score was just a shade over 275 (-9). Its average annual ranking among all Tour courses since 2007 is approximately sixth.

HALFWAY PROJECTIONS – At the halfway mark of the Tour Finals, the following players lead the competition to secure the second set of 25 available PGA TOUR cards based on their position on the current Finals’ money list:

1 - Trevor Immelman, $180,000
T2 – Patrick Cantlay, 108,000
T2 – Will MacKenzie, 108,000
4 – John Peterson, 96,000
5 – Scott Gardiner, 61,533
6 – Bud Cauley, 41,900
7 – Ryo Ishikawa, 40,000
8 – Troy Matteson, 39,250
9 – Ricky Barnes, 34,750
10 – Troy Merritt, $32,500
T11 – Will Claxton, 30,125
T11 – Bobby Gates, 30,125
T11 – Seung-Yul Noh, 30,125
T14 – Camilo Benedetti, 26,000
T14 – Greg Owen, 26,000
T14 – Heath Slocum, 26,000
T14 – Vaughn Taylor, 26,000
T18 – Adam Crawford, 22,000
T18 – Sean O’Hair, $22,000

Eight players who already earned their cards via the Regular Season money list are bypassed on the Finals money list to determine this list of 25 – Michael Putnam, Andrew Svoboda, Ben Martin, Kevin Kisner, Brice Garnett, Peter Malnati, Brendon Todd and Tim Wilkinson. Bhavik Patel, who would earn the 25th and final card at the Finals based on halfway figures, has an advantage of $375 over Scott Dunlap. Dunlap is followed by Nick O’Hern, who is $3,008 off Patel’s pace.

THREE NOW HAVE TWO – With his second win in the Tour’s last five events on Sunday, Andrew Svoboda joins Michael Putnam and Ben Martin as the Tour’s only two-time winners this year. Svoboda outlasted Will MacKenzie in a one-hole playoff to add the Chiquita Classic to his early August win at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper in Springfield, Mo. A third win in the remaining two Finals events would give Svoboda or Martin fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR in 2013-14, regardless of where they finish on the Finals money list. Putnam has already secured full status thanks to being No. 1 in Regular Season earnings.

WORKHORSE – Struggling through a poor rookie season on the PGA TOUR, Andrew Svoboda was determined to keep his card one way or the other. He has played PGA TOUR or Tour events every week since The Greenbrier Classic (July 4-7), a string of 10 events. It’s on to Columbus and week No. 11, with his sights set on leading the Tour Finals money list and the fully exempt status that goes with it.

TIGER ON THE LOOSE – While still seeking his first Tour win, LSU’s John Peterson has been on a tear of late. Consider the following:
- Last three finishes: 3rd (Cox Classic), T5 (Hotel Fitness Championship), T3 (Chiquita Classic)
- Only one score over par in his last 28 rounds. Is a cumulative 90-under par and has a 68.21 scoring average during this stretch.
- With $96,000 in Finals earnings, is currently in fourth position in his pursuit of one of the remaining 25 cards.
- When Bronson La’Cassie birdied the 72nd hole of the final Regular Season event (Cox Classic), Peterson was knocked from the 21st card position to 30th, forcing him to refocus his card pursuit on the Finals.

TV TIMES – Golf Channel continues to televise the Tour Finals this week, with all four rounds of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship airing in high definition. Coverage on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will air from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. ET and Sunday’s finale from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET.

“MORNING DRIVE” GUEST – Tour Regular Season leading money winner Michael Putnam is scheduled to be a guest on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday (Sept. 11th) at 7:40 a.m. ET.

CANADIAN SEALS FIRST OF FIVE WEB.COM TOUR SPOTS - With one event remaining, MacKenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ontario has wrapped up his Tour card for next year through the PGA TOUR Canada’s Order of Merit. The 2011 and ’12 Canadian Amateur champion is the Tour’s leading money winner and is guaranteed to finish among the top five when the Tour’s season concludes next week. Hughes claimed his first victory on Sunday at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic in Nova Scotia.

NEXT WEEK – The Tour will be off next week, with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola taking center stage. The fourth and concluding Tour Finals event will follow (Sept. 26-29) at TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course, where the 50 PGA TOUR cards and positions for 2013-14 will be finalized.