Greensboro sees late moneylist scramble
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2006 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro | Preview | 03 Oct 2006
The PGA Tour is in Greensboro, North Carolina this week for the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro and while the field lacks the absolute superstars of the game there is plenty at stake and plenty of interest in the event.
For many, this event, along with next week’s Bose Championship in Las Vegas and the last two full field events of the season in Florida, could either make or break a season. With top thirty money list positions at stake and, at the other end of the scale, survival on the PGA Tour, this is a chance to take advantage of a field where the leading world ranked player participating is currently ranked number 20. That player is South African Tim Clark, who finished 6th here twelve months ago and who finished 26th at the American Express event last week.
The defending champion is South Korea’s K.J. Choi who, while not exactly setting the world on fire on 2006, is playing well enough to be a realistic chance to defend his title. He has an exceptional record at Forest Oaks having finished inside the top ten in four of his five starts.
The Forest Oaks Country Club is a Maples Ellis designed layout originally built in 1965 but restored and upgraded in 2003 by Davis Love 111. The course has been the venue since 1977.
Shigeki Maruyama has been a winner and runner up in two of his last three visits to Forest Oaks and there have been the occasional glimpses of what he is capable of in recent weeks. A visit to a golf course he no doubt enjoys might just be what it takes to see Maruyama contending once again.
Mike Weir played well enough in recent weeks to finish 6th at the USPGA Championship but his form has been patchy. It has been several years since Weir has played in Greensboro so this is a surprise entry in some ways although that he sits of the cusp of the top thirty is reason in itself to be here. The Tour Championship is just a month away and a place in the top thirty by then will see him in Atlanta.
Lucas Glover finished this event with a final round 66 in 2005 to finish 21st but he is a much more accomplished and experienced player now. He has played very well over the last three weeks and is a genuine chance.
Justin Rose keeps teasing us with great starts to events but has typically not been able to finish as strong. He was sixth in this event in 2005 and with the growing amount of times in contention of late surely his time must come. His second place at the recent Valero Texas Open two weeks ago was very impressive and surely the drought must break soon.
Camilo Villegas played well in Japan last week broadening his experience internationally when finishing third at the Tokai Classic. He has yet to win in his rookie season but has been in contention on a number of occasions. Currently 33rd on the money list, a good finish this week will go a long way to securing the Colombian a place in the Tour Championship, a significant feat in his rookie season
Nathan Green is in a similar situation. He is currently 36th on the money list just US$40,000 behind Villegas. It will be Green’s first time to Greensboro but he has shown on several occasions in 2006 that debuts are not an issue with him. The race between both Villegas and Green for the top honours amongst those from the 2005 Nationwide Tour will be interesting although the Rookie of the Year title appears to have already gone to Trevor Immelman.
Other Australasians in the field are Nick O’Hern, Aaron Baddeley, John Senden, Peter Lonard, Steve Elkington, David McKenzie, Mathew Goggin, Greg Chalmers and Steve Bowditch.
The tournament has a purse of US$5 million.
Photo – Anthony Powter