This Week in Golf - April 12th through April 15th

This Week in Golf - April 12th through April 15th

This Week in Golf - April 12th through April 15th
April 9th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA TOUR - VERIZON HERITAGE, Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina - The PGA Tour returns to Hilton Head this week as it has every year after the Masters since 1983.

The Verizon Heritage has gone through several name changes over the years, but it dates back to 1969 when Arnold Palmer won the initial event.

North Carolina native Davis Love III has owned this event. Despite a tie for 47th last year, he has ruled this event having played here every year since turning professional in 1986.

Love has won this title five times and has 11 top-10s in 21 starts. He has carded 56 of 75 rounds at par or better at Harbour Town.

Last year an Australian ruled the day. Aaron Baddeley shared the lead entering the final round with former U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk. During an up-and-down round, Baddeley led by two through five, but fell two behind Furyk after 11 holes.

Baddeley rallied with birdies on 14 and 15, two of the hardest holes at Harbour Town, to grab the lead for good. He sank a six-footer for par at the last to hold off Furyk and claim his first PGA Tour crown.

Zach Johnson might not be feeling any pain this week after picking up the green jacket Sunday at the Masters, but only Bernhard Langer has followed up a win at Augusta with a victory here.

Following the year's first major, just six of the top-20 players in the world are competing this week led by world No. 2 Jim Furyk. Johnson, who soared to No. 15 in the world with the Masters win, is scheduled to play.

The Golf Channel opens with three hours of coverage the first two rounds before handing off to the CBS team for the final two rounds.

The PGA Tour heads to Louisiana next week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Chris Couch chipped in for par on the final hole there last year to earn the win. He is expected to defend his title at the TPC Louisiana.

EUROPEAN TOUR

VOLVO CHINA OPEN, Shanghai Silport Golf Club, Shanghai, China - The European Tour returns with its penultimate stroke-play event in Asia this season, the Volvo China Open.

Last year's champion, Jeev Milkha Singh, will not be on hand to defend his title. He has remained in the United States for this week's Verizon Heritage after appearing in the Masters.

Only one of the top three finishers from a year ago -- 2005 European Tour Rookie of the Year Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano -- is returning to Shanghai this week. The Spaniard closed with rounds of 68-70 to finish one behind Singh.

This event has been around for 13 years, but just joined the European Tour's International schedule in 2005. Two China natives -- Jun Cheng (1997) and Lian-Wei Zhang (2003) -- have captured the title in that time.

Wen-Chong Liang, a playoff winner at the Singapore Masters earlier this year, made a name for himself here eight years ago as an amateur. Liang carded a fourth place finish that year, but he missed the cut the last two times this event was contested.

"All Chinese players dream of winning the Volvo China Open, but you can never force it to happen in this game," Liang admitted. "If it's your time, then you'll win. I'm hard working and I will keep trying. The last two years I have accepted whatever happened and now I'm looking towards the future."

Liang will have his work cut out for himself as he is one of more than 25 golfers from China in the field this week. Also teeing it up here this week will be Thomas Bjorn, who missed the cut by two strokes at the Masters last weekend.

The Golf Channel has coverage of all four rounds this week. The European Tour remains in China next week for the BMW Asian Open, where Fernandez-Castano downed Henrik Stenson in a playoff in 2006.

LPGA TOUR

GINN OPEN, Reunion Resort & Club, Reunion, Florida - Coming off its first major of the season, the LPGA moves back to the east coast for the Ginn Open.

Last year, Mi Hyun Kim took control with rounds of 66-69 on Friday and Saturday before closing with a 71 to win the inaugural title by two strokes.

Kim topped a strong leaderboard that included Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, who was coming off a victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Many of the top players will be teeing it up this week. The aforementioned four players will all play this week as will nine of the top 10 and 16 of the top 20 women in the latest world rankings.

The Golf Channel will also cover the opening two rounds here before again handing it over to the CBS team for the weekend.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

SOUTH GEORGIA CLASSIC, Kinderlou Forest Golf Club, Valdosta, Georgia - The Nationwide Tour heads to Georgia for the first of two straight events in the Peach State. The South Georgia Classic is a new event on the Nationwide schedule this year.

Four of the top five players on the money list -- Skip Kendall, Scott Sterling, Nicholas Thompson and Miguel Carballo -- will tee it up at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club this week.

The only one missing is Omar Uresti. Those five represent the first five winners of the 2007 season.

There is no television coverage this week. Next week, the Nationwide Tour continues in Georgia with the Athens Regional Foundation Classic, where Paul Gow won last year.

CANADIAN TOUR

SAN JOSE INTERNATIONAL OPEN, Golf Club at Boulder Ridge, San Jose, California - The Canadian Tour opens its season this week with the inaugural San Jose International Open.

The last few years the Canadian Tour opened with events at Barton Creek in Austin, Texas. Those tournaments have been dropped from the schedule this year.

They have been replaced on the schedule by this tournament and three new ones in Mexico, as well as three new events in Canada.

Last week, 30 players earned their playing privileges through Qualifying School.

There is no television for this event. Next week, the Canadian Tour remains in California for the Northern California Classic where Matt Hansen won in 2006.

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