With many of the PGA Tour’s top names competing this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the Puerto Rico Open gives the circuit’s rising stars a chance to shine.
In last year’s tournament, George McNeill held off the challenge of Ryo Ishikawa, Boo Weekley and Henrik Stenson to take his second PGA Tour title. The American closed with three straight birdies to secure the victory.
A number of talented young players will tee it up on the International course at Trump International in Rio Grande this week. Off the back of successful amateur careers, Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth are looking to make an impact on the pro game. Still only 21, Ryo Ishikawa will make a start this week. The Japanese star was runner-up to George McNeill in this event last year. Former World amateur Number 1, Peter Uihlein has made the journey from South Africa, after a strong finish in last week’s Tshwane Open on the European Tour. Also, Luke Guthrie will be looking to follow up on his third place at last week’s Honda Classic.
Designed by Tom Kite, the course here was originally four separate nines. When the Trump Organisation came on board, it was modified to become two 18-hole tracks. The International Course, over which this event is contested, comprises the old Palms and Mountains courses – the Palm nine being flat and narrow through wetlands, the Mountains featuring a number of changes in elevation.
Venue: Trump International GC Puerto Rico, Rio Grande
Date: Mar 7-10
Course stats: par 72, 7,569 yards
Purse: $3,500,000 Winner: $630,000
Defending Champion: George McNeill (-16)
Luke Guthrie – the 23-year-old was third at last week’s Honda Classic. He’ll look to continue that run here and should be full of confidence.
Ryo Ishikawa – The Japanese star was second in this event last year. He’s still not lived up to his full potential but a win here would be a step in the right direction.
Erik Compton – Another man who performed well in Florida at The Honda last week – he was tied fourth. He’s made the cut in this event in each of the last three seasons.
Key hole: 14th. The most difficult hole on the course and played into the prevailing wind. It’s a par 4 of 477 yards with bunkers left and right from the tee. With the wind in their faces, many of the field will find they need a wood for their second shot. In 2012, the hole played to an average of 4.169.
World Golf Championships – Cadillac Championship preview