ALUMNI UPDATE –LAIRD, STREELMAN SHINE AT WGC; MCNEILL FINISHES 5TH IN PUERTO RICO

WGC-Streelman

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By Ryan Woodcock

The second WGC event of the season, the Cadillac Championship, featured an elite field of 69 players that included the Top-50 players in the world, and it included four former Gateway Pro Tour players. 

Martin Laird had the best outing of the four, earning a T10 finish in that strong field at 8-under par for the tournament.  He opened with a solid 5-under 67 at the TPC Blue Monster at Doral before finishing out with rounds of 70-70-73 for the week.  A big hitter, Laird led the field in driving distance at Doral, and he was 12th among the field in putting.  For the season, Laird is 7th on the PGA TOUR in total driving distance (303.5) and 13th overall in putting.  This was his second Top-10 finish on the year (he finished third at the WM Phoenix Open earlier this year).

Kevin Streelman was 1-shot back of Laird and earned a T15 at 7-under par, his strongest outing of the 2011 season.  He opened with a 4-under 68, shot even par 72-72 over the weekend and closed with a 3-under 69.  Streelman has made 4 of 7 cuts this year – this was his first finish in the Top-20.

Charley Hoffman had an up-and-down weekend, but still finished T24 at 4-under par for the tournament.  His got things going with an opening-round 5-under 67, but struggled on Friday and Saturday, going 4-over par with rounds of 75-73.  He rebounded with a solid 3-under 69 to earn his second Top-25 of the year.

Rounding out the field was Jeff Overton, who struggled all week with all four rounds in the 70s (75-77-73-73).  He finished last in the field (66 – there was no cut) but still managed to take home $39,750 for making it in to this WGC event.

CLICK HERE for complete results from the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

PUERTO RICO OPEN

Opposite the WGC event, the remaining PGA TOUR players traveled to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Open at Trump International GC.  A total of 15 of our former players finished in the money, with eight in the Top-25 and three in the Top-15.  George McNeill was the highest finisher, shooting a final round 3-under 69 to finish solo fifth at 13-under for the tournament.  This was only McNeill’s third tournament of the year, and the fifth-place finish was his best since finishing T5 at the Northern Trust Open in 2010.

Also finishing among the Top-15 were John Merrick at T11 and Michael Thompson at T14.  Merrick opened with a 4-under 68, then closed it out with three straight 70s to earn his best finish of the season.  Thompson also opened 68-69, then closed out the weekend with rounds of 70-72. 

Rounding out the Top-25 in Puerto Rico were Justin Hicks and Kevin Stadler T18 at 8-under par, while Aron Price, Michael Putnam and Matt Every finished T22 at 7-under par. 

CLICK HERE for complete results from the Puerto Rico Open.

Bubba Watson remains the highest former GPT player on the PGA TOUR money list, but slipped from second to fourth after missing the WGC event with the flu. Spencer Levin is 17th on the money list, followed by Gary Woodland (19th), Steve Marino (20th), Jimmy Walker (22nd) and J.B. Holmes (25th).  With his T10 finish at WGC, Martin Laird moved up from 36th to 30th on the money list.

Next up on the PGA TOUR is the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida, March 17-20.  The Nationwide Tour has another week off before getting back to it next week in Louisiana at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open March 24-27.  Good luck everyone, we’ll see you here next week to give you the full scoop on all of the action.