This Week in Golf - June 28th through July 1st

This Week in Golf - June 28th through July 1st

This Week in Golf - June 28th through July 1st
June 25th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - USGA - U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines, North Carolina - The top women's players in the world tee it up this week at the third women's major of the season, the U.S. Women's Open Championship.

Last year, Annika Sorenstam and Pat Hurst needed a Monday playoff to decide the winner. Sorenstam closed with an even-par 71 in Sunday's final round, then claimed her 10th major championship crown on Monday with a one-under 70.

Hurst, who closed with a two-under 69 in the final round to force the playoff, managed just a four-over 75 to fall short of winning her second major title. It was the third time Sorenstam defeated Hurst in a playoff.

The playoff at Newport Country Club came one year after Birdie Kim holed a miraculous bunker shot for birdie and the 2005 title as she fended off then amateurs Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang.

In 1996, Sorenstam posted a 272 total to set the U.S. Women's Open scoring record for a par-70 course. That happened at this year's host course - Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, where Karrie Webb claimed the 2001 crown.

There are plenty of storylines as always. Women's World No. 1 Lorena Ochoa is coming off her third win of the season at last week's Wegmans LPGA, but she is still searching for her first major title.

Will former No. 1 Sorenstam, a two-time winner and two-time runner-up at this event, regain her form after a recent back and neck injury? Can Sorenstam be the first to repeat since Karrie Webb in 2000 and 2001?

How will 12-year-old Alexis Thompson fair? Thompson is the youngest ever to qualify for the Women's Open.

With Morgan Pressel (Kraft Nabisco) and Suzann Pettersen (McDonald's LPGA) winning the first two majors, will Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr or another first-time major champion be crowned?

ESPN will have four hours of coverage on both Thursday and Friday, before handing off to NBC, which will have three hours of action each of the final two days.

The LPGA Tour will be off next week before returning the following week with the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, where Mi Hyun Kim won last year.

PGA TOUR

BUICK OPEN, Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc, Michigan - The Buick Open will be without its defending champion and top Buick sponsor, Tiger Woods.

Woods is skipping this event to remain at home with his wife and newborn child.

Last year when he won, Woods was coming off an emotional win at the British Open, his first win after the death of his father.

Woods claimed his second title at this event last year as he carded four straight rounds of six-under 66 to beat Jim Furyk by three strokes. His win came after Vijay Singh had won the last two titles at Warwick Hills.

It was the 50th win of Woods' career. Since then, Woods has raised his win victory total to 57.

Low scores are the norm at Warwick Hills as seven of the last eight winners have posted totals in the 260s (19-under or better).

Billy Mayfair established a PGA Tour record here in 2001 for the best birdie- eagle streak in tour history. Mayfair went nine-under (B-E-B-B-B-B-B-B) en route to posting a nine-under 27 as part of his final-round 61.

The Golf Channel will broadcast three hours of action the first two days, while CBS has three hours of action the final two days.

Next up for the PGA Tour is the inaugural AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, where Woods will serve as the tournament host.

EUROPEAN TOUR

OPEN DE FRANCE, Le Golf National, Paris, France - Frenchman Jean-Francois Remesy was going for his third straight win at this event last year, but struggled to a one-over 285 for the tournament.

Englishman John Bickerton opened with an eight-under 63 and then fended off Irishman Padraig Harrington in the final round for his second tour title.

The win was Bickerton's second in less than 10 months after going 12 seasons and 287 starts before claiming his first title at the 2005 Abama Open de Canarias.

Remesy's loss meant fellow Frenchman Marcel Dallemagne is still the only player to win three straight, 1936-38.

This is the oldest national championship in continental Europe dating back to 1906. This event has had 18 major champions also win this title, while this week's field includes 83 players that have won on the European Tour.

The Golf Channel has coverage of all four days of action this week. Next up for the European Tour is the Smurfit Kappa European Open at The K Club, where Stephen Dodd won last year.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

COMMERCE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP, Red Course at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, New York - The Commerce Bank Championship will be hard pressed to match last year's action as John Harris and Tom Jenkins went to a playoff.

Those two finished one stroke clear of Andy Bean, Gil Morgan and 2006 Player of the Year Jay Haas. In the playoff, Harris birdied the first extra hole to pick up his first professional title in his 97th career start.

What made Harris' win all the more special was the fact that he erased a five- stroke deficit to comeback and force the extra session. It was the largest comeback of the 2006 season.

Harris' win stopped Haas' streak of three straight wins last year. Haas shared third place in his first appearance at this event.

The Golf Channel will have coverage of all three rounds. This event serves as the final tune-up for the season's second major. Next week is the U.S. Senior Open at Whistling Straits, where Allen Doyle will go for his third straight win at that event.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

PEEK'N PEAK CLASSIC, Peek'n Peak Resort and Conference Center (Upper Course), Findley Lake, New York - The Nationwide Tour returns to New York this week for the Peek'n Peek Classic.

Last year, John Merrick needed three playoff holes to defeat Gavin Coles and claim his first tour win. Merrick closed with three straight rounds in the 60s to match Coles at 11-under 277. Coles had been going for his third tour crown.

Merrick, who is on the PGA Tour this year, currently stands in 125th place on the money list. That is the final position for someone to maintain their full status on the PGA Tour without a win.

This is the sixth year of the event and tournament officials have signed an extension through 2011 with the total purse climbing each year.

A very busy Golf Channel will have tape-delayed coverage of all four days. Next up for the Nationwide Tour is the Legend Financial Group Classic, where Coles picked up his third tour crown.

CANADIAN TOUR

ATB FINANCIAL CLASSIC, Calgary Elks Lodge & Golf Club, Calgary, Alberta - The Canadian Tour tees it up at a new event this week with the ATB Financial Classic.

The field will include four of the five players that have won on tour this year. Adam Bland, Wes Heffernan, Byron Smith and James Lepp will all tee it up this week.

Bland and Heffernan are both two-time winners this season. Fellow two-time winner Spencer Levin is not scheduled to play this week.

The tour remains in Alberta next week for the TELUS Edmonton Open, where Stephen Gangluff posted his second Canadian Tour win.

DURAMED FUTURES TOUR

TEAM WLF.ORG GOLF CLASSIC, Kankakee Elks Country Club, Saint Anne, Illinois - Mollie Fankhauser needed two extra holes last year to knock off Brandi Jackson and Stephanie George to earn her first professional win.

Jackson and Fankhauser each closed with back-to-back 70s, while George, who opened with a 67, struggled to one-over 73 in the final round to force the playoff.

Fankhauser has made just three starts on the LPGA Tour this year and has missed the cut in all three events.

After a week off, the Futures Tour heads to Connecticut for the CIGNA Golf Classic, where Song-Hee Kim claimed the title last year.

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