Quail Hollow Championship tees off in Charlotte

April 29, 2010

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PGA TOUR

QUAIL HOLLOW CHAMPIONSHIP
Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina –

Emerging as a can’t-miss event on the PGA Tour, the Quail Hollow Championship will feature at least three good storylines this week.

Tiger Woods will make his second post-scandal start after tying for fourth place at the Masters, saying last week that he was surprised at the warm welcome he received at Augusta.

It will be interesting to see how Woods, who won at Quail Hollow in 2007, will be received by fans at a tournament that’s not as controlled at the Masters. Woods has also committed to The Players Championship, the U.S. Open and his own AT&T National tournament.


It will be interesting to see how Tiger Woods will be received by fans at Quail Hollow.

Phil Mickelson will be playing for the first time since winning his third Masters title, a three-shot victory over Lee Westwood that was punctuated by a post-round embrace with his wife, Amy, who is battling breast cancer.

This week also marks an important title defense for 27-year-old Sean O’Hair, who captured his third PGA Tour win last year despite closing with back-to- back bogeys in the final round.

O’Hair coughed up a two-shot lead with two holes remaining, missing the green at the par-three 17th and three-putting from 26 feet at the 18th. But Lucas Glover also bogeyed the 17th, falling one shot back and giving O’Hair the win.

It was the most significant win of O’Hair’s career, netting the young American his first $1 million check. It came just five weeks after he lost to Woods on the final hole of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after having the third-round lead.

O’Hair joined an impressive list of winners in the tournament’s short history, a list that includes Anthony Kim, Woods, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Joey Sindelar and David Toms.

Coverage of the must-see event begins on Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday before CBS takes over on the weekend.

Next week is another can’t-miss event, The Players Championship, which was won by Henrik Stenson last year.

LPGA TOUR

TRES MARIAS CHAMPIONSHIP
Tres Marias Country Club, Morelia, Mexico –

Lorena Ochoa will make this week’s Tres Marias Championship her (sort of) going away party.

The 28-year-old Mexican star announced her retirement last week, saying she will play this week and then also compete annually in her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico.

“I’m ready to move on,” said the recently-married Ochoa, the current world No. 1, who will become a non-active member of the LPGA Tour following her retirement.

Though her announcement was sudden, Ochoa picked a good time for it. She is the two-time defending champion after beating Suzann Pettersen by a shot last year. Ochoa also won the event in 2006, giving her wins in three of the five years it has been played.

Carin Koch won the inaugural tournament in 2005, and Silvia Cavalleri captured it in 2007.

Also playing this week is Michelle Wie, who is seeking her second LPGA Tour win after breaking through at Ochoa’s tournament near the end of last season. Wie is finished with her school work at Stanford this year.

Following the event, the LPGA Tour will take a week off before returning May 13th for the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, where Angela Stanford won last year.

EUROPEAN TOUR

OPEN DE ESPANA
Real Club de Golf de Sevilla, Seville, Spain –

France’s Thomas Levet captured his fifth European Tour victory at last year’s Open de Espana.

Levet closed with a four-under 68 to hold off hard-charging Fabrizio Zanotti of Paraguay by two shots, winning for only the second time in five years.

Zanotti, who was chasing his first tour victory, had a seven-under 65 in his final round on the PGA Golf de Catalunya course.

This year’s event will be held at the Real Club de Golf de Sevilla. Levet will be joined by several former champions, including Peter Lawrie, Niclas Fasth, Christian Cevaer, Kenneth Ferrie, Jarmo Sandelin, Thomas Bjorn and Colin Montgomerie.

It will mark the first time the tour is on the European continent since the Madeira Islands Open three weeks ago. Y.E. Yang and Marcus Fraser won tournaments in Asia the last two weeks.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds beginning at 9:30 a.m. (et) the first two days and an hour earlier on Saturday and Sunday.

Next week is the Italian Open, where Daniel Vancsik won last year.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

MISSISSIPPI GULF RESORT CLASSIC

The $1.6 million tournament is a new event on the Champions Tour and will be held at the Tom Fazio-designed Fallen Oak course.

Only two of the top five players on the Charles Schwab Cup points list will be in the field this week: No. 2 Bernhard Langer and No. 3 Nick Price.

Points leader Fred Couples is playing the PGA Tour’s Quail Hollow Championship, while No. 4 Tom Watson and No. 5 Tom Lehman are taking the week off.

Mark O’Meara, No. 6 in the standings, teamed with Price to win last week’s Legends of Golf tournament in a playoff over John Cook and Joey Sindelar. It marked O’Meara’s first win in 58 career starts on the Champions Tour.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all three rounds beginning at 6:30 p.m. (et) on Friday and Saturday and starting a half-hour later on Sunday.

Following the tournament, the Champions Tour will take a week off until the Regions Charity Classic begins May 14. Keith Fergus won that event last year.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

STADION ATHENS CLASSIC
University of Georgia Golf Course, Athens, Georgia –

Patrick Sheehan will be the latest player looking to become the first to successfully defend a title on the Nationwide Tour.

Sheehan won this event last year with a birdie on the first playoff hole to defeat Michael Sim, who went on to earn an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour after winning three times in 2009.

It marked Sheehan’s second victory on the Nationwide Tour, where no one has ever won the same title in back-to-back years.

There is no television coverage for the tournament.

The Nationwide Tour is off next week, returning May 13 for the BMW Charity Pro-Am, where Sim captured one of his wins last year.


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