Last updated Aug 7, 2:48pm     jimmywomble on Golf    0 Comments    570 Views

Sutherland a Shaw Thing in Canada

Keeping up their busy schedule is the Champions Tour who head north of the border to Calgary, Alberta for the Shaw Charity Classic. This is a relatively new event starting in 2013 when Rocco Mediate was the winner, whilst last year another fan favourite in Fred Couples won, in a tremendous finish with both he & Billy Andrade eagling the last to force a playoff. A usual Champions Tour event over just 54 holes and so starts on Friday 7th August, and with no cut a civilised 9.20am start time locally, which is 4.20pm UK time.

The Course & Past Winners

Set in the south of the city Canyon Meadows is a 7,158 yards, par 70, parkland course. It's quite a tight tree lined course that starts and ends with a par 5 so a chance to get under way and finish with a birdie.
Now I've said it's a par 70 and 7,158 yards, and starts with a par 5, but it's all a little confusing as in 2013 it played as a par 71, but last year it also played as a par 70 with the first hole being reduced to a par 4. Whilst the hole descriptions on the PGA Tour website still describe it as a par 5.
Recent winners of the event have been:
Year Player Score Players Under Par Winning Margin
2014
Fred Couples
-15
60
0
2013
Rocco Mediate
-22
70
7
Quite easy scoring with Mediate shooting no worse than a 64 on the way to his victory, and Couples closing with a 61 to take his win. Whilst the average score for the field was 69.00 & 68.78, so well under par on both occasions, even with the reduction in par.

The Contenders

For once I can't start with Bernhard Langer as he is not here this week, which leaves two players as the hot favourites, both around 5-1, and both make their debut at this event. They're also both Europeans in Charles Schwab Cup leader Colin Montgomerie & top 60 in the world ranked Miguel Angel Jimenez.
So looking at their recent form and it seems Monty is now a major player on tour, his last six events have all been majors. Starting with 24th at the Regions Tradition, he then successfully defended his Senior PGA title, 3rd in the Constellation Senior Players Championship, then played with the kids at the US Open where an opening 69 saw him make the cut, although he did slip to 64th in the end. The following week he was runner up in the Senior US Open, and then 3rd in the Senior British Open. So excellent form on this tour reading 1, 3, 2, 3.
As for Jimenez he arrives in poor form having missed the cut in Nordea Masters and US Open, he was 10th in the Scottish Open but then another missed cut the following week in St Andrews. He did play the Senior versions of the US & British Opens on this tour as well and was 17th in the US Senior Open before heading to the Scottish Open and then 4th in the Senior British in his last event a couple of weeks ago.
Four players have finished in the top ten on both occasions here and it is Freddie Couples who has the best record of them all thanks to his win last year. In 2013 he finished 10th with rounds of 69, 65, & 67, whilst his win last year saw rounds of 68, 66 & the closing course record of 61. He's one of 4 with 6 from 6 rounds under par and has the 2nd best average round with 66.00. Has had limited starts this year with just 5 on this tour and a couple on the PGA Tour, but after three months off after a missed cut at The Masters he has returned with 10th at the Encompass Championship, and then 5th at the Senior British Open a couple of weeks ago.
Another player in quite good form at the moment is Kevin Sutherland who has finished in the top 20 in his last seven events, starting with a playoff loss at the Regions Tradition and another 2nd place last week at the 3M Championship. In between he was 13th, 10th & 7th at the next three majors, 13th at the Encompass Championship and 19th at the Senior British Open. Last year this was just his fifth event on tour having turned 50 and he finished 9th after rounds of 66, 68 & 67, one of 9 with 3 from 3 and the 10th best average round at 67.00.
Also with top tens here in both years is Tom Pernice Jr., but his form has dropped a little with 47th & 43rd in the last two weeks and without a top 10 in five events. He was 5th here in 2013 and alongside Sutherland last year in 9th, after opening with a then course record equalling 62. It was his 70 in the second round that let him down, and his only round not under par, with an average round of 66.83.
Also opening with a 62 last year was Bart Bryant also followed it with a poor round a 71, but recovered slightly for 7th a shot ahead of Pernice. Whilst in 2013 he finished alongside Couples in 10th position, and so matches Pernice with 5 from 6 under par and an average round of 66.83. He started the season well before dropping off but had hinted of some good form as I've mentioned in the last few weeks with 20th at the Senior Players, 12th at the Senior US and British Opens, with a 4th in between. Dropped last week with 27th.

My Selection

Time as ever is pressing and of the top two Monty's form is impressive, but he does make his debut here. Therefore I think I will go with Kevin Sutherland, top 20 in his last 7 events and 2nd last week so form is good and a top ten here last year.

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