Jimmy Burch has covered professional golf for the Star-Telegram since 1991. He’s received state and national honors for his writing but fills his own scorecard with more bogeys than birdies when he hits the local links.
Bill Flynn, a longtime member at Shady Oaks Country Club, recorded a historic ace Saturday at the club’s fifth hole. He aced the par-3 hole with a 5-wood, giving him an ace on all four of the par-3s at Shady Oaks _ a rare feat for any golfer at a single course.
Flynn, 71, has recorded eight aces in his lifetime and Saturday’s hole-in-one was his first since 1999. Witnesses to Saturday’s ace included Cody Curry, Dr. Tracy Kobs and Tommy Moore.
College golfers have until March 1 to apply to compete in the LPGA College Shootout, an 18-hole event that will allow the top two finishers to play against touring pros in the North Texas LPGA Shootout, April 25-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.
The college qualifier is March 12 at Las Colinas Country Club, with the top two finishers in the 18-player field earning sponsor’s exemptions into the field for the LPGA Tour event in April. The third- and fourth-place finishers from the college qualifier will earn exemptions into the April 22 qualifier for the LPGA tournament.
Applicants must be female college students with an established handicap of 2.0 or less. For application forms or more information, visit www.ntshootout.com.
The North Texas LPGA Shootout marks the tour’s first full-field event in Dallas-Fort Worth since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
Dow Finsterwald, Jr., head golf professional at Colonial Country Club, already had a milestone moment marked on this year’s calendar: his 25th anniversary in his current position.
But there will be another reason to celebrate Sunday, when Finsterwald accepts the 2012 Golf Professional of the Year Award from officials at the Northern Texas PGA in a ceremony at the Westin Hotel in Dallas. Finsterwald will be one of multiple honorees with Tarrant County connections but his award, voted on by peers, ranks among the program highlights.
“I was shocked when they called me. But it’s really cool of them to do it,” Finsterwald said. “I don’t feel like I’m deserving of it, but it’s a wonderful honor. Being a member for 25 years, I guess if you do something long enough, maybe they’ll give you an award.”
Finsterwald said his father, 1958 PGA champ Dow Finsterwald, Sr., will be among those who celebrate with him Sunday. The elder Finsterwald, 83, won 12 PGA Tour events in his career.
Among other recipients of Sunday honors with local connections include: Troy Lewis, The Golf Club at Fossil Creek (Randy Smith Junior Golf Leader Award); Dan Walden, Texas Star Golf Course (Merchandiser of the Year, Public); Paul Earnest, Four Seasons Resort and Club (Merchandiser of the Year, Resort); the late Mac Spikes, former golf pro at Rivercrest Country Club who died in 2010 (Distinguished Service Award); Jon Drago, tournament director of the HP Byron Nelson Championship (Horton Smith Award) and Stuart Deane, teaching professional at Sinclair’s Golf Training Center in Euless (NTPGA Player of the Year and Ben Hogan Stroke Average Award).
Coming off a season marked by two victories and $4.5 million in PGA Tour earnings, Zach Johnson took steps during the off-season to raise the bar in 2013.
The defending champion at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, who took part in today’s tournament kickoff luncheon in Fort Worth, hired a statistician to help him dissect his 2012 performances and pinpoint areas he could improve.
Johnson, 36, said he sought to “find the holes in the stats” and close them this season because that his how he sets goals and gauges progress.
“My goals are never outcome oriented. I can’t control how many times I win. But I can control the drills that I do to help accomplish these stats,” said Johnson, who is Colonial’s career leader in earnings ($2,875,490) and set a tournament scoring record (21-under par) during his victory in 2010.
The premise, said Johnson, is that if he can hit targeted statistical goals, “then it’ll really show up on the leader board or on the outcome stats.”
A nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, Johnson said the statistical goals he seeks to improve this season include putting _ primarily three-putt avoidance _ as well as driving accuracy, scrambling and birdie conversion on par-5 holes. The early returns have been solid in terms of driving accuracy, where Johnson ranks sixth among tour competitors (70.87 pct.), and in par-5 birdie ratio (64.7 pct.), where he ranks 13th.
But he ranks 173rd in total putting and 111th in scrambling, two areas he seeks to improve as Johnson heads into Thursday’s opening round of the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif. By design, Johnson has played sparingly this season _ he’s posted two top 25 finishes in three starts _ following the birth of his third child, Abby Jane, on Nov. 1, 2012.
“I don’t want to say I’m rusty, but I don’t feel like I’m quite as polished as I’d like to be at this point,” said Johnson who will compete this week for the first time since Jan. 20. “I’ve taken a lot of time off and … it’s just a matter of getting it back. The system’s in place. It’s just a matter of sticking with it.”
Officials at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial have released their initial, 47-player list of commitments to Fort Worth's annual PGA Tour stop. Below is a look at golfers who have made plans to complete May 20-26, 2013 at Colonial Country Club:
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial commitments
A list of golfers who have committed to compete in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, May 20-26 in Fort Worth. Commitments are not official until Friday, May 17:
Blake Adams, Charles Beljian, Jonas Blixt, Patrick Cantlay, Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, John Daly, Brendon de Jonge, Ken Duke, Steve Flesch, Steven Fox, Jim Furyk, Tommy Gainey, Robert Garrigus, Brian Gay, Tom Gillis, David Hearn, J.J. Henry, Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson, Kyung-Tae Kim, Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman, Troy Matteson, William McGirt, George McNeill, Kevin Na, Corey Pavin, John Peterson, Carl Pettersson, D.A. Points, Kyle Reifers, John Rollins, Rory Sabbatini, John Senden, Kevin Stadler, Scott Stallings, Chris Stroud, Michael Thompson, Cameron Tringale, Bo Van Pelt, Camilo Villegas, Johnson Wagner, Jimmy Walker, Charlie Wi, Casey Wittenberg, Y.E. Yang.
Officials at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial released their first wave of commitments today for the 2013 tournament. And the list of confirmed competitors, along with defending champion Zach Johnson, includes John Peterson, a former LSU and Fort Worth Paschal golfer who finished fourth at the 2012 U.S. Open, as well as gallery favorite John Daly.
Both Peterson and Daly will be competing on sponsor’s exemptions at the May 20-26 event at Colonial Country Club. Peterson, who does not have a PGA Tour card, will be making his Colonial debut. But his strong showing at last year’s U.S. Open, which earned Peterson, 23, a berth in the 2013 Masters and 2013 U.S. Open, convinced Colonial officials to extend an invitation.
“I think it’s a unique story,” Colonial tournament director Michael Tothe said. “A local, Fort Worth guy. He certainly has proved himself at the major level. We’re excited to host him.”
Also committed to the tournament is Camilo Villegas, who will be competing at Colonial for the first time since 2006, and five Tarrant County residents who are exempt members of the 2013 PGA Tour: Ben Crane, J.J. Henry, John Rollins, Rory Sabbatini and Y.E. Yang.
Others on the 47-player commitment list, released in conjunction with today's kickoff lunchon at the club, include Jim Furyk, Corey Pavin, Johnson Wagner, Jimmy Walker and Patrick Cantlay, winner of the 2011 Ben Hogan Award.
Public ticket sales have begun for the 2013 Colonial and there are a handful of remaining pro-am spots and hospitality packages. For information, visit www.CrownePlazaInvitational.com or call 817-927-4280.
Zach Johnson, defending champion at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, will host a live Facebook and Twitter chat with golf fans as part of the tournament’s kickoff luncheon activities Monday in Fort Worth. Johnson, a two-time Colonial champ (2010, 2012) who owns the tournament scoring record (21-under par, set in 2010), will chat with fans Monday from 2 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. Channel titles are Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on Facebook or @CrownePlazaInv on Twitter.
Dates for the 2013 tournament are May 20-26 at Colonial Country Club.