The end is near at Chrysler Classic of Greensboro
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2004 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro | Preview | 13 Oct 2004
With just three full field events to go on the USPGA Tour in 2004, the opportunities for those looking to achieve various money list milestones are rapidly disappearing.
This week’s Chrysler Classic of Greensboro at the Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina however offers just that.
The tournament is one of the oldest on the PGA Tour dating back to 1938 when the great Sam Snead won the first of his eight Greensboro titles. The Forest Oaks course was first used for the event in 1977 when Danny Edwards beat George Burns and Larry Nelson on the Ellis Maples (1965) designed and Davis Love III (2003) redesigned course. Love is a previous winner of the event and was part of a team which upgraded the course in 2003. Apparently the course was upgraded to add strategy and effectively make it a stronger test but someone forgot to tell Shigeki Maruyama last year when he shot a near tournament record.
Last year Maruyama strolled to victory by five over Brad Faxon and in 2002 it was Rocco Mediate who beat Mark Calcavecchia by three.
Traditionally the event has been played much earlier in the season normally around the time of The Masters, but last year it was moved to October for the first time.
The field assembled is boosted by the world number six Davis Love III and Jim Furyk, who was second in 1999, is also here.
There is not a lot to get excited about with Love’s form of late, especially when compared to what he was achieving earlier in the year, but as the best player in this field he commands respect. That doesn’t necessarily convert to a win but it helps. He missed the cut on his design last year and will be keen to redeem himself. You can just hear the fans telling him as he struggled round on Friday last year that he has only himself to blame.
Jim Furyk hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since he returned from injury four months ago, but he hasn’t been bad either. His 11th placing last week in Las Vegas was pretty solid, especially his last round 66, and it may just be that this week he will go even better.
Luke Donald returns from Europe where he has continued to impress and develop his already classy game. He is headed for the top of the game in future years if not earlier.
Zach Johnson has played beautifully in recent weeks and seems to be back to where he was in March and April. Like Donald he is on his way to another level again in the game.
David Toms has not played a lot here and when he did last year he produced a real mixture. He has played well of late with several solid if unspectacular finishes.
Robert Allenby was fourth here last year putting together a good weekend to make up a lot of ground. He has however lost his way somewhat of late after a good US Open and NEC.
Jonathan Byrd has played just great of late with two consecutive top tens and with a 5th and 3rd at his last two visits to this event, then he can go very close to winning this week.
Defending champion Maruyama is also playing well in recent weeks and given his liking for the course, then don’t be surprised if he wins for the first time in 2004.
The Australasians in the field apart from Allenby are Geoff Ogilvy, Rod Pampling, Craig Parry, Steve Elkington, Scott Hend and Grant Waite.
For Scott Hend this week provides one of the last few opportunities to move back inside the top 125. He is currently 129th and likely needs another $50,000 to have a chance. Five consecutive missed cuts do not augur well however.
The event is worth US$4.6 million.