This Week in Golf - April 26th through April 29th

This Week in Golf - April 26th through April 29th

This Week in Golf - April 26th through April 29th
April 23rd, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA TOUR - EDS BYRON NELSON CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas and Cottonwood Valley Golf Course, Irving, Texas - For the first time in a long, long time, the Byron Nelson Championship will be missing the most important figure in event history -- Byron Nelson.

Mr. Nelson passed away last fall at the age of 94. His name has been attached to this tournament since 1968. Surely the players will miss greeting Mr. Nelson and his wife after completing their rounds.

Nelson won 11 consecutive events in 1945 and claimed 18 titles overall that year. In a two-year span of 1944-45, Nelson won 31 of 54 events he played in, including the 1945 PGA Championship. In all, Mr. Nelson collected 52 tour wins before retiring at the age of 34.

Last year, Brett Wetterich held off Trevor Immelman by a single stroke. Immelman, who blew a late lead the week before, needed to birdie the last to possibly force a playoff.

However, Immelman pulled his tee shot into a lake. He did manage to save par, but Wetterich calmly two-putted for par from 18 feet to secure his first PGA Tour crown.

"This makes me feel really good," said Wetterich after the win. "To come out here and win this great golf tournament, it's just an unbelievable feeling. And being Mr. Nelson's tournament, also, it's truly an honor."

With the new PGA Tour schedule, this event is being played three weeks earlier than it was last year. The last several years, the Byron Nelson and the Colonial, were played back-to-back, but this year the Colonial will be contested the final week of May.

The event will use two courses -- TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas and Cottonwood Valley Golf Course -- for the opening two rounds. Las Colinas will host the final two rounds once again.

The Golf Channel will cover the opening two rounds as usual before handing it over to CBS for the weekend. Next week, the PGA Tour moves to North Carolina for the Wachovia Championship, where Jim Furyk won last year.


OPEN DE ESPANA, Centro National de Golf, Madrid, Spain - After a two-week stint in China, the European Tour returns to Spain this week for the Open de Espana.

The event was first held in 1912. The last Spaniard to win the event was Sergio Garcia in 2002. Last year, Niclas Fasth needed four extra holes to take down John Bickerton for the title at San Roque Club.

That duo finished tied at 18-under, while Mattias Eliasson, Phillip Archer, Thomas Bjorn, Jose Manuel Lara, Gary Orr and David Griffiths ended just one stroke back.

In the playoff, Fasth and Bickerton played the 18th three times and both men parred it each time. They shifted to the ninth for the fourth extra hole and Fasth drained a five-footer for birdie and the win.

Fasth could have avoided a playoff altogether, but he bogeyed the final two holes of regulation to force the extra session.

The Centro National de Golf has undergone significant changes since last year with added distance on seven holes. There is also water in play on five of the final seven holes, including on the 18th, which has been totally redesigned.

The Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds starting at 10:00 a.m. (et) Thursday and Friday and at 8:30 a.m. on the final two days. The European Tour heads to Italy next week for the Telecom Italia Open, where hometown favorite Francesco Molinari won last year.


CORONA CHAMPIONSHIP, Tres Marias Residential Golf Club, Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico - The LPGA Tour heads south of the border to Mexico for the Corona Championship, where hometown favorite Lorena Ochoa won last season.

The event was just played in October, but moved to April on this year's schedule.

After an opening-round 71, Ochoa ran off three straight rounds in the 60s, including a course-record 64 in round two, to cruise to a five-stroke win.

"For me, it's like a U.S. Open, being able to play in my country and win in front of my people," she said after the win.

Tres Marias Residential Golf Club, the host course for the third straight year, will again play again to a par of 73.

This will be the LPGA Tour's second trip to Mexico. In the first event, the MasterCard Classic, Meaghan Francella defeated 2006 winner Annika Sorenstam in a playoff at that event.

There is no television this week. The tour moves to Oklahoma next week for the newly-named SemGroup Championship. Cristie Kerr won the tournament last year when it was known as the John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic.


HENRICO COUNTY OPEN, The Dominion Club, Richmond, Virginia - The Nationwide Tour heads to Virginia this week for the 15th annual Henrico County Open.

Matt Kuchar, a former PGA Tour player who regained his tour card via his play on the Nationwide Tour in 2006, walked away with a playoff win here last year.

Kuchar two-putted for birdie on the third extra hole to defeat Paul Claxton and collect his first Nationwide Tour title. Kuchar has moved on to the PGA and will not be on hand to defend his title.

Get ready to see some low numbers this week. Daniel Chopra posted a Nationwide Tour record score of 30-under par here in 2004. That total was four strokes better than the previous tour mark.

Last year, Kuchar's winning score of minus-nine was the first time in six years that the winning total wasn't at least 20-under par.

The Golf Channel will have two hours of coverage for each of the first two rounds, then three hours of action each of the final two days. The Nationwide Tour shifts to Arkansas next week for the Fort Smith Classic, where Darron Stiles was victorious in 2006.


CORONA MAZATLAN CLASSIC, El Cid Golf & Country Club, Mazatlan, Mexico - The Canadian Tour begins a four-week stay in Mexico this week with the Corona Mazatlan Classic.

Rob Oppenheim closed with an eight-under 64 in the final round last year to force a playoff with Stephen Gangluff, who carded a one-under 71 to end at 15- under.

In that playoff, Oppenheim birdied the first extra hole to win for the second time in the 2006 season.

El Cid will host the event for the third straight year, while the Canadian Tour will play in Mexico for the fifth consecutive year.

There is no television for this tournament. Next week, the Canadian Tour remains in Mexico for a new event, the Culiacan Open.

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