Chrysler Classic of Greensboro Preview

A couple young guns lead the field this week in Greensboro.

Chrysler Classic of Greensboro LogoThe Presidents Cup is in the past, and it’s time to move towards the Tour Championship in November. This week, the PGA Tour heads to Greensboro for the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro. The field won’t be nearly as strong as it usually is, but there are still a few young superstars ready to tee it up on Thursday. Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott will be playing this week, and the two are ranked sixth and seventh in the world, respectively.

Sergio Garcia is coming off a win a few weeks back at the European Masters, and he will be playing in this week’s event for the first time in his career. Garcia has one victory on the PGA Tour in 2005, the Booz Allen Classic in early June. Sergio has had another solid year and currently sits in ninth on the PGA Tour money list.

Adam Scott, like Sergio, has one win on the PGA Tour and one on the European Tour. Scott won the shortened Nissan Open in February, and he won the Johnnie Walker Classic shortly thereafter. Adam Scott played in the Presidents Cup last week and had an impressive overall record of 3-1-1, despite losing to Jim Furyk in his Sunday singles match. Scott currently sits 13th on the PGA Tour money list and will be one of the definite favorites this week.

Three other Presidents Cup members are in the field this week. Stewart Cink, Peter Lonard, and Tim Clark will all be teeing it up in Greensboro. Cink was a part of the victorious United States squad and had an overall record of 1-3-1. Clark, on the other hand, was on the losing team and finished with a 2-2-1 overall record. Cink hasn’t won in 2005, but Clark has two wins on the European Tour and currently sits 18th in the world rankings. Lonard won his first PGA Tour event earlier this season and had an overall record of 2-2-0 at the Presidents Cup.

Other notables in the field this week include fan favorite John Daly, 2006 Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, Charles Howell III, and Ryan Moore. Daly has been inconsistent all year, finishing in the top ten just once. Lehman was at the Presidents Cup last week taking notes, but this week he will be playing for himself. Lehman has had a quiet 2005, but he did finish in a tie for fourth last year in Greensboro.

Charles Howell III seems to play great golf when the pressure isn’t on. As soon as he nears the top of the leaderboard, however, he seems to dissapear on the bogey train. Despite the underachieving, Howell III still has five top-ten finishes in 2005 and sits in 35th on the PGA Tour money list.

Ryan Moore has been playing just about every week, and his hard work is finally starting to pay off. Moore had a few rough starts to his professional career, but he finished in a tie for second at the Bell Canadian Open three weeks ago and tied for 17th at the 84 Lumber Classic two weeks ago.

Last year at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro, Brent Geiberger shot a final-round 66 to earn his second-career PGA Tour victory. Geiberger finished at -18 overall, two shots clear of Michael Allen and three clear of Chris Smith. David Toms and the aformentioned Tom Lehman rounded out the top five. All five of these golfers will be playing this week, with the lone exception of David Toms.

Forest Oaks Country Club is the host course for this week’s event. The course measures 7,311 yards and par is 72. The course has been known to yield low scores, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own on any given day. Davis Love III recently redesigned Forest Oaks Country Club, but unfortunately he won’t be playing in the event this week due to nagging injuries.

The two finishing holes have been modified recently, and both should play a little tougher than usual. The 17th hole is a 222-yard par 3 that has been lengthened by 20 yards since last year’s tournament. The golfers will be playing long-irons and utility clubs into this green and coming up short is bad news. There is a large bunker guarding the front of the green and a small bunker on the right. If the tee shot isn’t accurate, golfers will be struggling for pars all week at this tricky hole.

The finishing hole is a 451-yard par 4 that also requires accuracy off the tee. Fairway bunkers have been added on both sides to make driving accuracy a must. Once the players find the fairway, they will be left with a short-iron or mid-iron approach to a very tricky green. The green has false fronts in the front and back, and bunkers guard both the left and right sides. A par-par finish will go a long way in determining a winner this week.

Last week, I picked the United States team to win the Presidents Cup. I was actually right for the first time all year, even though I had a 50-50 chance. I’m not going to let that get me down, however. This week, I’m going to pick Adam Scott. Scott has struggled with his putting in 2005, but he really had it going for most of the Presidents Cup. If he ever gets on a roll with the putter, the other golfers need to look out. For my “sleeper” pick, I’m going with Shigeki Maruyama. Maruyama hasn’t had a very good year so far and has falled to 49th in the world rankings. That being said, Maruyama won this event in 2003 and finished in a tie for 19th last year.

The weather for this week’s tournament should be awesome. North Carolina is usually great this time of year, and this week should be no exception. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms on Thursday, but the chances are very slim. The rest of the days are supposed to be clear, with highs in the 70s and low-80s. The scoring should be great as it usually is for this event.

The Chrysler Classic of Greensboro is the fifth event in the PGA Tour’s Fall Finish. The field will be playing for an overall purse of $4.6 million, with $828,000 going to the winner. It will be tough to watch this event coming off such an exciting Presidents Cup. Nonetheless, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott are in the field, and that’s enough to catch my attention. The Chrsyler Classic of Greensboro can be seen on USA and ABC at the following times:

Thu    4-6pm ET    USA
Fri    4-6pm ET    USA
Sat    3-6pm ET    USA
Sun    3-6pm ET    ABC

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