Lowdown:
A number of top players who missed out on the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational have headed to Nevada this week for the PGA Tour’s Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux G&CC. J.J Henry is the defending champion.

As well as many top US players, a strong international representation has arrived in Reno. Padraig Harrington will tee it up at Montreux, so too Ryo Ishikawa, Andres Romero, Camilo Villegas and Ross Fisher.

Last season this tournament was played to a modified Stableford format and that will be the case again this time round. Players will be awarded 8 points for an albatross, 5 points for an eagle and 2 for a birdie. A par means no change, but a bogey means 1 lost point and a double, (or worse,) results in 3 points gone.

As such, the tournament rewards aggressive play, the idea being a more exciting spectacle. Expect to see the competitors looking to boom drives and take on difficult pins.

Last year J.J. Henry held off the chasing pack to win by a single point from Alexandre Rocha of Brazil. The American posted a four round total of 43 points.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the course at Montreux opened for play in 1997. The layout makes its way across desert and through pine forest and features fairly significant changes in elevation as well as a number of water hazards.

The stretch of holes from the 15th to the 17th is particularly challenging. Known as “The Bear Trap,” it features a long par-4, a tricky par-3 over water then a monstrous par-5 stretching to over 630 yards. The length of that hole is negated somewhat by the fact the course is at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet. As a result, the course yardage of 7,472 yards is not quite so daunting.

Venue: Montreux G&CC, Reno, Nevada
Date: Aug 1 – 4
Course stats: par 72, 7,472 yards
Purse: $3,000,000 Winner: $540,000
Defending Champion: J.J. Henry (+43 points)

Player Watch:
Andres Romero – The Argentinian has been on improved form of late with three top-25 finishes in his last six PGA Tour starts. He led here last year after the first round and ended the week in third spot. He hasn’t three-putted in his last 283 holes on the PGA Tour.

Russell Knox – It’s hard to ignore a man who shot a 59 in last week’s Albertsons Boise Open. The Scot has been in the top-20 in two of his last three starts on the PGA Tour.

Vaughn Taylor – He hasn’t played brilliantly this year with just one top-10, but this is a course where he’ll have great memories. He won this event in both 2004 and 2005. Look for him to find some inspiration and pull out a performance this week.

Key hole:
17th. It may be 636 yards long but the altitude, plus the prevailing wind at the players’ backs, will make it potentially reachable in two. It features a large and undulating green so expect to see some amazing putts holed as well as some short ones missed.