It’s the last event of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series this week. The Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World provides players with a last chance to make the all-important top-125 on the money list.
Troy Matteson currently occupies 125th spot and he’s $13,000 clear of the man in 126th – Briny Baird. 38-year-old Baird finished 27th in the FedEx Cup standings two years ago but he’s in serious danger of facing a trip to q school in two weeks.
“I am surprised to be in this position,” said Baird. “But if you want to be one of the top players you have to perform.”
Aside from the battle to retain playing rights, the tournament will be hotly contested by some of the Tour’s big names. 11 Major winners are on the start sheet including Vijay Singh and Davis Love III.
The tournament is played over the Palm and Magnolia golf courses at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s one round on each layout in a pro-am format before the leading pros go on to play two further rounds of the Magnolia Course.
The event began life in 1971 as the Walt Disney World Open Invitational and the great Jack Nicklaus won the first three. Since then, other famous names like Payne Stewart, Ray Floyd, Mark O’Meara and Tiger Woods have lifted the trophy.
Last year Stephen Ames came out on top after an excellent closing round of 64 earned him a place in a playoff with George McNeill and Justin Leonard. The Canadian came through at the second extra hole.
Venue: Disney’s Magnolia and Palm Courses, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Date: Nov 11-14
Course stats: Magnolia par 72, 7,516 yards; Palm par 72, 6,957 yards
Purse: $4,700,000 Winner: $846,000
Defending Champion: Stephen Ames (-18)
Thursday 11 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Friday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Saturday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Rickie Fowler – The youngster has enjoyed an excellent season on the PGA Tour and would love to cap it off with a victory.
Davis Love III – The veteran is the all-time money leader in this tournament and was the winner in 2008. He’s been in the top-5 at Disney on seven occasions.
John Senden – The Australian is a consistent performer as evidenced by his last seven starts from which he has returned five top-15 finishes. He is ranked second on the PGA Tour for greens found in regulation.
Key hole: 17th – Magnolia Course. A long par 4 of some 485 yards, it’s generally considered the toughest hole on the Magnolia Course. The drive is over water then they’ll be left with a mid or long iron into a tight green. This is a difficult hole to par if the pressure’s on coming down the stretch.