Monday Morning Golf Report
March 30, 2009
This past weekend featured a full slate of former Wake Forest stars in action on all four major tours.
Even though everyone played second-fiddle to Tiger Woods at the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational, Webb Simpson was able to post another great finish.
Simpson was steady all week in tough conditions. He carded rounds of 70-71-70-70=281 (+1) which was good enough to tie him for 11th. The entire field had their struggles at Bay Hill, which at time took on a U.S. Open feel. The 5-under winning total was the highest winning score this season and the cut line of 5-over was also the highest number so far this year.
Outside of Wood's heroics on the final hole, Simpson may have provided the highlight of the week with a hole-in-one on the tough par-3 17th, Friday afternoon. Another impressive stat this week from Simpson was his ability bounce-back. Six different times this week he followed a bogey with a birdie on the very next hole.
Bill Haas also made the cut this weekend at Bay Hill, finishing T59 after posting a final round 69. He made a total of five birdies in his round on Sunday.
Billy Andrade carded rounds of 72-76 on Thursday and Friday but did not make the cut.
Bill's father, Jay Haas, led the Wake Forest contingent at the Champions Tour Cap Cana Championship at the beautiful Punta Espada Golf Club in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic.
Haas posted three-straight rounds of 70 to finish tied for 11th at 6-under par. Scott Hoch was a shot behind him at 5-under and tied for 15th.
Gary Hallberg used a nice round of 4-under 68 on Saturday to vault him up the leader board and a final round 73 left him tied for 28th at 2-under.
Curtis Strange and Leonard Thompson were both making their first starts since the ACE Group Classic last month.
Both players rebounded after tough opening rounds as Strange made six birdies and just one bogey in his round of 5-under 67 on Saturday while Thompson also posted six birdies on his way to a 68.
Thompson finished the tournament tied for 39th at 1-over and Strange came in tied for 59th at 5-over.
The Nationwide Tour made its first start in the states at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and it was exactly what former Deacons Len Mattiace, Kyle Reifers and Ron Whittaker was looking for.
None of the players played as well as they had wanted in the first four tournaments over seas but all three combatants made the cut this week.
Whittaker made a double-bogey on his third hole of the first round and went out in 2-over. However, he got on a role on his second nine and made five birdies to finish with an opening round 3-under 68. He also followed that with a 68 on Friday, his first two rounds in the 60s this season, to make the cut 6-under.
Reifers would make the cut at 2-under and Mattiace made the cut on the number at 1-under.
Despite no one playing superb on the weekend, all three players cashed a check. Whittaker finished T53 at 1-under, Mattiace was T61 at 1-over and Reifers was T68 at 4-over.
For the ladies, Laura Diaz carded rounds of 77-76 at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International but missed her first cut of the season.
The PGA Tour heads to Houston this week for the Shell Houston Open, which will serve as a final tune-up for the season's first major, the Masters, one week later.
The Nationwide Tour continues next week at the Stonebrae Classic at the TPC of San Francisco while the Champions Tour will be at the TPC of Tampa Bay for the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
The LPGA Tour will host its first major this season at the Kraft Nabisco Championship Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
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