News & ToursJanuary 30, 2008

The FBR Open: A First Look

The first four weeks of the PGA Tour season have seen its winners post some pretty low numbers (Tiger Woods' 19-under mark at Torrey Pines just continued the trend) and this week's FBR Open at TPC Scottsdale could produce the lowest winning score yet. Last year, Aaron Baddeley took the title by shooting 21 under par, marking the fourth time in seven years that the eventual champ reached 20 under for the week. The scoring average at the Tom Weiskopf/Jay Morrish course was 69.85, its lowest-ever total, and marked just the second time in 20 years that it has been in the 60s. The hardest hole a year ago, the 469-yard, par-4 11th, ranked as the 211th toughest on tour. Ony three other holes were among the top 500.

But no matter how easy the course plays, all eyes will be on the 16th hole. The 162-yard, par-3 with the most boisterous gallery on tour yielded 72 birdies in 2007, but no aces. Ryuji Imada came closest, leaving his tee shot nine inches from the cup. Everybody remembers Woods' hole-in-one in 1997, but the last player to make a 1 there was Mike Sposa, who plunked one in the cup in the second round of the 2002 event.

Baddeley won a year ago because he made putts--especially the long ones. Badds was 8 for 23 on putts from more than 20 feet, including four of six from 20-25 feet. His average distance of putts made in a round was 120 feet, 11 inches. The flatstick helped him shoot 64-64 on the weekend to beat John Rollins by one and Jeff Quinney by 2.

--John Antonini

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