Web.com Tour money leader carrying momentum into Boise Open

Michael Putnam has a fair share of success at his favorite stop on tour

clangrill@idahostatesman.comJuly 25, 2013 

Michael Putnam, shown after missing a putt during last year’s fourth-place finish at the Boise Open, said the event “is one of my favorite tournaments, and I’ve always played well here. It’s the closest tournament we have to home, and this would be the one that I want to win the most. And not just because the purse is big. … I played junior golf here. I’ve been playing here for a long time, and it’s kind of like a home away from home.”

JOE JASZEWSKI — Idaho Statesman file

  • If you go...

    NO MORE FROST — NOTHING BUT HEAT FOR FOUR DAYS

    Tournament play has been delayed a handful of times by morning frost in previous Boise Opens. That won't be a problem this year, as the tournament moves from September to July. Forecasts call for highs of up to 100 during the tournament, but the good news is that Hillcrest has plenty of trees lining the fairways that will provide some relief in the shade. Still, don't forget the sunscreen.

    Where: Hillcrest Country Club is located at 4610 Hillcrest Drive in Boise. The par-71 course is 6,807 yards in length.

    When: Gates open at 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tee times begin at 7:15 a.m. Thursday and Friday.

    Tickets: Go to albertsonsboiseopen.com for information — and to donate to your favorite charity. Daily passes are available at the course starting at $15.

    Parking: There is no parking at the course, but there is free parking at Borah High School (6001 Cassia Street), and a free shuttle that will run regularly throughout the tournament.

    TV coverage on The Golf Channel (tape delayed)

    • Thursday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

    • Friday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

    • Saturday, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    • Sunday, 5 to 7:30 p.m.

    Concert: An Evening with Curtis Stigers begins at 7 p.m. Friday. Stigers is a jazz musician from Boise. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at albertsonsboiseopen.com. Tickets bought this week will have to be picked up at will call. There will be preferred lawn seating, and concert-goers are asked to bring blankets only; no chairs and no outside food or beverages are allowed. Free parking and shuttle service from Borah High will be provided.

    Last year's winner: Luke Guthrie, who has earned more than $930,000 on the PGA Tour this season.

    Next week: The Web.com's next event is the Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Pa.

  • Players to watch

    NATIONAL

    Edward Loar (tees off at 8:35 a.m. Thursday on No. 10 tee): The steady, Web.com Tour veteran is having his finest season. He won the Chitimacha Louisiana Open in March and finished fifth in last week's Midwest Classic. Loar is No. 2 on the Web.com Tour money list.

    Chesson Hadley (1:15 p.m., No. 10): The Web.com Tour rookie out of Georgia State showed his moxie by winning the Rex Hospital Open in June. The native of Raleigh, N.C., was born in Rex Hospital. Hadley is No. 3 on the Web.com money list.

    Will Wilcox (8:35 a.m., No. 1): Wilcox shot a 59 in the final round of the Utah Championship on July 14 (he missed a playoff by one stroke). Wilcox, who won the South Georgia Classic in April, is one of four golfers to shoot a 59 on the Web.com Tour.

    Jason Gore (8:35 a.m., No. 1, paired with Wilcox): The fan favorite was the most recent player to shoot a 59 prior to Wilcox. Gore, who won the Boise Open in 2002, is one of three former champions in the field, along with Fran Quinn (2009) and Hunter Haas (2011).

    Todd Hamilton (7:55 a.m., No. 10): Hamilton finished at 15-over in the British Open on Sunday. Four days later, the 2004 Open champion will be teeing it up in the Boise Open.

    LOCAL

    Troy Merritt (tees off at 1:05 p.m. Thursday on No. 10 tee): The former Boise State golfer has played in the tournament five times, with his best finish coming in 2011 when he tied for 11th and won $14,396.

    Jim Empey (2:15 p.m., No. 10): The director of instruction at Quail Hollow in Boise has played in the Boise Open six times, but has not made the cut.

    Adam Martens (2:15 p.m., No. 10): The PGA pro at SpurWing in Meridian has played in the Boise Open three times. He missed the cut twice and finished 65th in 2008.

    Joe Panzeri (9:15 a.m., No. 1): Panzeri, from Meridian, was one of three players to make the cut in all eight Canadian Tour events in 2012. He played in the 2011 Boise Open, but missed the cut.

    Sean Thomsen (2:15 p.m., No. 1): Thomsen is a PGA pro at Idaho Falls CC. He is making his Boise Open debut.

    Ty Travis (9:15 a.m., No. 1): The former Eagle High state champion won the Idaho Amateur last week and qualified for the Boise Open on Monday. He has played for Weber State but is transferring to Boise State. Travis is making his Boise Open debut.

    Chris Williams (9:15 a.m., No. 10 tee): The Moscow native was the No. 1 amateur in the world before turning pro in June. He made his debut at the Travelers and finished 30th ($32,584). Making his Boise Open debut.

  • Today's tee times

    HILLCREST COUNTRY CLUB

    PAR: 71 • YARDAGE: 6,698

    (Money rankings in parentheses)

    NO. 1 TEE / MORNING

    7:15 a.m. — David Gossett, Roland Thatcher, Brian Duncan

    7:25 a.m. — Adam Crawford, Corey Nagy, Matt Weibring

    7:35 a.m. — Camilo Benedetti, Brad Adamonis, Miguel Angel Carballo

    7:45 a.m. — Gavin Coles, Whee Kim, Guy Boros

    7:55 a.m. — Carlos Franco, Scott Dunlap, Dusty Fielding

    8:05 a.m. — Spencer Levin, Lee Bedford, Ron Whittaker

    8:15 a.m. — Michael Putnam (No. 1), Alex Prugh (15), Tim Wilkinson (8)

    8:25 a.m. — Wes Roach (23), Kevin Foley (17), Kevin Kisner (13)

    8:35 a.m. — Will Wilcox (6), Jason Gore, Alex Aragon (5)

    8:45 a.m. — Brian Prouty, Kevin Tway, Tim Kunick

    8:55 a.m. — Scott Pinckney, Clodomiro Carranza, Fernando Mechereffe

    9:05 a.m. — Dae-Hyun Kim, Jason Allred, Matt Hill

    9:15 a.m. — Tain Lee, Ty Travis, Joe Panzeri

    NO. 10 TEE / MORNING

    7:15 a.m. — Franklin Corpening, Garth Mulroy, Skip Kendall

    7:25 a.m. — Chris Wilson, Sung Kang, Todd Demsey

    7:35 a.m. — Andrew Loupe, Dawie van der Walt, D.J. Brigman

    7:45 a.m. — Joe Durant, Michael Connell, Patrick Sheehan

    7:55 a.m. — Matt Davidson, Randall Hutchison, Todd Hamilton

    8:05 a.mra. — Alexandre Rocha (24), B.J. Staten, Bhavik Patel

    8:15 a.m. — Hudson Swafford, Richard S. Johnson, J.J. Killeen

    8:25 a.m. — Scott Sterling, Matias O'Curry, Mathew Goggin (16)

    8:35 a.m. — Edward Loar (2), Chris Smith, Brad Elder

    8:45 a.m. — Reid Edstrom, Erik Flores, Josh Broadaway

    8:55 a.m. — Scott Harrington, Tom Hoge, Jerod Turner

    9:05 a.m. — Oscar Fraustro, I J Jang, Steve Friesen

    9:15 a.m. — Ryan Cook, Scott Smith, Chris Williams

    NO. 1 TEE / AFTERNOON

    12:15 p.m. — Ariel Canete, Russell Knox, Billy Hurley III

    12:25 p.m. — Cliff Kresge, Lee Janzen, David Lipsky

    12:35 p.m. — Marco Dawson, Shane Bertsch, Rafael Echenique

    12:45 p.m. — Aaron Goldberg, Ashley Hall (22), Chad Collins

    12:55 p.m. — Richard Scott, Ryan Spears, Alex Cejka

    1:05 p.m. — Scott Parel (20), Aron Price, Vince Covello

    1:15 p.m. — Daniel Chopra (25), James Nitties, Peter Lonard

    1:25 p.m. — Brett Wetterich, Byron Smith, Kent Jones

    1:35 p.m. — Brett Stegmaier, Nick Flanagan, Matt Bettencourt

    1:45 p.m. — Bryden MacPherson, Nick Rousey, Stephan Jaeger

    1:55 p.m. — Kevin Kim, Andy Pope, Zack Miller

    2:05 p.m. — Kelly Kraft, Matt Hendrix, Joey McLister

    2:15 p.m. — Riley Arp, Andrew Scott, Sean Thomsen

    NO. 10 TEE / AFTERNOON

    12:15 p.m. — Fran Quinn, Ryuji Imada, Hunter Haas

    12:25 p.m. — Sam Saunders, Andrew D. Putnam, Jonathan Hodge

    12:35 p.m. — Peter Tomasulo, Philip Pettitt, Jr., Tyrone Van Aswegen

    12:45 p.m. — Andrew Buckle, Danny Lee (9), Mike Lavery

    12:55 p.m. — Paul Claxton, Len Mattiace, Steve Wheatcroft

    1:05 p.m. — Rob Oppenheim, Will MacKenzie, Troy Merritt

    1:15 p.m. — Brice Garnett (19), Chesson Hadley (3), Mark Anderson (7)

    1:25 p.m. — Jamie Lovemark (14), Ben Martin (4), Jeff Klauk

    1:35 p.m. — Steven Alker (21), Benjamin Alvarado (10), Jim Renner (12)

    1:45 p.m. — Bio Kim, Michael Sims, Derek Fathauer

    1:55 p.m. — Dustin Garza, James Sacheck, John Peterson

    2:05 p.m. — Martin Piller, Bronson La’Cassie, Todd Baek

    2:15 p.m. — Jonathan Moore, Jim Empey, Adam Martens

Michael Putnam has made a habit of playing well at the Boise Open. He led after the first round in 2008, and he led through three rounds last year.

Even so, he’s never had much momentum coming into Boise.

“I’ve come to Boise in years past not playing so well,” Putnam said. “But I was always looking forward to being on the West Coast and maybe starting to play well.”

This year’s a different story.

Putnam will have plenty of momentum on his side when he tees off at 8:15 a.m. Thursday in the 24th Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club. The tournament runs through Sunday, when the winner’s share ($139,500) of the $775,000 purse will be awarded on the 18th green at approximately 5 p.m.

Putnam is No. 1 on the Web.com Tour money list with $390,384 in earnings this season. He has two wins, a second-place finish and seven top-10 finishes in 15 appearances.

And now he’s in Boise, where he feels more comfortable than any other event on tour, he said.

“Obviously this year, I’m coming to Boise playing well, and I’ve played well all year,” the 30-year-old Tacoma, Wash., native said. “So I’m just looking to keep it rolling here. Obviously, I like this part of the country, and I’ve played well in Utah (where he won in 2010) and in Boise. So I’m looking forward to having a good week.”

Putnam is joined in Boise by his brother, Andrew, who is 5 years younger and a Web.com rookie. Andrew, who is ranked 34th on the money list, said he is motivated by his brother's success.

“It’s a good thing when we're both playing well and can spur each other on,” Andrew said.

Michael Putnam is ranked second on the Web.com Tour in greens-in-regulation percentage (75.65), but he said it’s his putter that has made the difference in his success this season.

“I had a good three-month stretch with the putter where I was putting really well,” Putnam said. “I’m always a pretty good ball-striker, which keeps me in tournaments. But I’ve made putts under pressure this year. I’ve been able to stroke it with confidence. I’ve put them on line and my hands haven't been shaking, all those things that happen when you miss putts. I’ve kind of conquered that feeling.”

It has resulted in that No. 1 ranking, which is of ultimate importance under the new PGA Tour qualifying structure. A top ranking going into the final four playoff events would guarantee Putnam full exempt status next year.

“No. 1 means everything,” Putnam said. “It’s really important to keep that position until the end of the year, and this is one of those weeks that is going to define that, because it’s such a big purse. I’m in a position where I can wrap it up, which is what I want to do.”

A strong showing in Boise would go a long way toward doing just that. But Putnam said it’s going to take a low score to do so. The previous Boise Opens were played in September, so this is the first time the pros will have their go at Hillcrest in July.

“I think it’s going to play even easier, because it’s so hot they have to keep water on the greens,” he said. “Typically, this tournament has really firm and fast greens. But they’re going to have trouble getting them that firm and fast because they don't want to kill them.

“It’s going to be a shootout. There’s going to be a low score.”

Two tournaments ago, Will Wilcox shot a 59 on Sunday at the Utah Championship. Putnam said the same conditions at that tournament might reappear in Boise.

“In Utah, it was too hot to get the greens firm, so they were soft and we were making a lot of birdies,” Putnam said. “Same thing could happen here. There’s a good chance someone might shoot a 59 this week.”

That would top the best 18-hole score in tournament history by two strokes. Three golfers have shot 61, the most recent by Scott Piercy in 2008.

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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