PGA Tour hits West Coast at La Quinta
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 Humana Challenge partnered with Clinton Foundation | Preview | 15 Jan 2013
The USPGA Tour moves to the West Coast for this week’s Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation at the PGA West at La Quinta in California.
For only the second occasion in its history the tournament is being played over 72 holes, the original 90 hole event being shortened in 2012.
The three courses being played this week are the Arnold Palmer Private at PGA West, the Jack Nicklaus Private at PGA West and the La Quinta Country Club with the Palmer course the official host venue and where two of the four rounds will be played including the final round on Sunday.
Defending champion is Mark Wilson who defeated Johnson Wagner, Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger by two last year and although he missed the cut last week in Honolulu he did the same last year before bouncing back to win.
Phil Mickelson plays his first event since the Singapore Open in November but he is a two time winner of the Humana and on that basis alone he deserves respect. He played very well towards the end of last season and if he can find some of that form he is a chance to win for the third time.
Tim Clark played very well last week when runner-up to Russell Henley at the Sony Open and enjoys a very good record in this event. In four starts he has been twice runner-up and once 5th suggesting he could easily carry his good form from last week over into this week’s event.
Matt Kuchar finished runner-up in 2010 and 7th in 2011 and has been inside the top ten in four of his last five starts including the two in Hawaii. His chances look very good.
Bill Haas is another who has played the event well, never missing a cut and winning in 2010. Haas was only average at the at the season opening Hyundai but towards the end of 2012 he put together a few good finishes .
There will be a lot of interest to see whether the rookies can do as well as they did last week. Russell Henley, Luke Guthrie, Scott Langley and Ben Kohles are all very accomplished players from the Web.Com Tour who are playing this event for the very first time. If the efforts by Henley and Langley last week in Hawaii are anything to go by then they could well feature again.
Eleven Australians are in the field headed by their leading world ranked play in the event John Senden. Others are Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Bowditch, Greg Chalmers, Scott Gardiner, Matt Jones, Geoff Ogilvy and Cameron Percy and Alistair Presnell who has managed to gain a start via invitation.
Senden has several top tens to his name in this event and his opening event of the season at the Sony was solid if unspectacular. he could improve quickly.
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