After the excitement of last week’s Tour Championship, the PGA Tour heads for New York State and the Turning Stone Resort Championship where Dustin Johnson will defend the title.
The event marks the start of the PGA Tour’s “Fall Series” – five events between this week and The Children’s Miracle Network Classic in mid-November (the last full event on the 2009 PGA Tour schedule.)
The tournament doesn’t attract the strongest field of the season so it’s a good chance for those down the money list to make some progress towards securing their playing rights for 2010.
About two and a half miles from Turning Stone, the course at Atunyote is in attractive parkland and is set over gently undulating terrain, crossed by a stream and protected by several lakes. Atunyote is an Oneida Indian word that means “Eagle.”
Designed by Tom Fazio and opened for play in 2004, this is one of the toughest layouts on the PGA Tour circuit. In 2008 it ranked as the 16th hardest of the 54 courses visited by the Tour.
Last season Dustin Johnson picked up his first PGA Tour title, holing an eight foot putt on the closing green to beat Australia’s Robert Allenby by a single shot.

Venue: Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort, New York
Date: October 1-4
Course stats: par 72, 7,482 yards
Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson (-9)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 1 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 9pm
Friday 2 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 9pm
Saturday 3 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 9pm
Sunday 4 – Live on British Eurosport 2 from 9pm

Player Watch:
Robert Allenby – Runner-up here in 2008, the Australian is a consistent performer who will be looking to take advantage of the lack of top names on the start sheet this week.
Steve Marino – He’s had an excellent season and managed to finish in a tie for seventh at last week’s Tour Championship. He’ll be there or thereabouts this week.
Justin Rose – By his own high standards, the Englishman has had a disappointing year. A victory here would go someway to salvaging his season.

Key hole: 18th. A par-5 of 624 yards, this is a great three-shotter. Water must be avoided to the right side and bunkers to the left. Having said this, the landing areas are fairly generous and two solid shots should set up a straightforward pitch to the undulating green. In 2008 it was the easiest hole on the course yielding seven eagles and 155 birdies.

Skills required: Grinding. This is a course where solid rather than spectacular scoring tends to win the day. It’s not a layout that produces a huge number of birdies, the man who makes the fewest mistakes will come out on top.

Where Next?

Alfred Dunhill Championship preview
Golf Monthly Competition page
New Titleist irons