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CHAMPIONS - Dick's Sporting Goods Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Friday, June 25th through Sunday, June 27th
SITE: En-Joie Golf Course, Endicott, New York
COURSE ARCHITECT: Ernie Smith (1927), Dr. Michael Hurdzan (1996)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 6,974
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 367 Yds10 - Par 4 356 Yds
2 - Par 4 379 Yds11 - Par 4 441 Yds
3 - Par 5 554 Yds12 - Par 5 545 Yds
4 - Par 3 175 Yds13 - Par 4 442 Yds
5 - Par 5 565 Yds14 - Par 3 212 Yds
6 - Par 4 433 Yds15 - Par 4 432 Yds
7 - Par 3 188 Yds16 - Par 4 321 Yds
8 - Par 5 553 Yds17 - Par 3 185 Yds
9 - Par 4 407 Yds18 - Par 4 419 Yds
--------------------------
37 3,621 Yds35 3,353 Yds
 
Annual:  4th
Television:  Golf Channel - Friday -- 6:30-8:30 p.m. (et) - taped,
  - Saturday -- 12-2 a.m. (et) - replay,
  - Saturday/Sunday -- 1-4 p.m. (et),
  - Sunday/Monday -- 12-2 a.m. (et) - replay
Defending Champion:  Lonnie Nielsen
Runner-Up:  Ronnie Black, Fred Funk
Tournament Record:  195 (Lonnie Nielsen, 2009)
36-Hole Record:  129 (Fred Funk, 2009)
Course Record:  62 (R.W. Eaks, 2007)
Total Purse:  $1,700,000
Shares:  1st Place - $255,000; 2nd Place - $149,600; 3rd Place - $122,400
 
2009 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Lonnie Nielsen195Jay Haas203
Ronnie Black198John Morse203
Fred Funk198Gary Hallberg204
Brad Bryant201Mike Hulbert204
Dan Forsman203Five players at205
 
Past Dick's Sporting Goods Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2009Lonnie Nielsen (195) -- Ronnie Black, Fred Funk
2008Eduardo Romero (199) -- Fulton Allem, Gary Koch
2007R.W. Eaks (199) -- Bruce Vaughan

Top Contenders in the Field
Player200720082009
Lonnie Nielsen3rdT-26Won
Ronnie Black------T-2
Fred Funk------T-2
Brad Bryant---T-204th
Dan Forsman------T-5
Jay Haas------T-5
Joey Sindelar---4thT-10
Nick Price------T-10
Eduardo Romero---WonT-15
Andy BeanT-4T-20T-22
Bruce Vaughan2ndT-5T-24
Scott SimpsonT-1125thT-24
Wayne LeviT-52T-20T-33
R.W. EaksWonT-46T-33
Fulton Allem---T-2T-36
Joe Ozaki---T-5T-44
Craig StadlerT-9T-26wd
Gary Koch---T-2---
Tommy Armour III---------
John Cook---------
David Frost---------
Loren Roberts---------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Loren Roberts
Darkhorse - Chip Beck
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Fred Couples) - Finished tied for 11th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Peter Senior) - Finished tied for 11th
 
NOTES:
The Champions Tour travels to New York this week for the only event of the season in the Empire State, the Dick's Sporing Goods Open in Endicott. Five of the top 10 players on the money list are in the field this week -- Nick Price (3), Dan Forsman (5), Tommy Armour III (7), John Cook (8) and Loren Roberts (10). Price is coming off his second win of 2010 three weeks ago at the Principal Charity Classic. This week, Price will try to join money leader Fred Couples as the only three-time winners this season. Couples, Bernhard Langer and Price are the only multiple winners this year. Couples and Langer are not in the field this week. The purse increased $50,000 from last year to $1,700,000, with the winner receiving $255,000.

Last year, Lonnie Nielsen fired a nine-under 63 in the final round to come from behind and win this event. Nielsen established a new tournament scoring record with a 21-under 195 for a three-shot win over Ronnie Black and Fred Funk. The victory was Nielsen's second on the Champions Tour and both have come in New York, where he has a residence. He captured the 2007 Commerce Bank Championship.

Nielsen got off to an amazing start in the final round in his quest to catch third-round leader Funk. He birdied the first and second holes, then ran in a 50-footer for eagle at the par-five third. Nielsen kept it going with a five-foot birdie putt at the fourth and got up and down for birdie from a bunker at the par-five fifth hole. All totaled, Nielsen started six-under through his first five and found himself tied with Funk, who tallied three birdies in his first six holes. With Nielsen and Funk tied, neither was able to do much around the turn. Nielsen parred his next six holes, as did Funk, but Nielsen two-putted from 20 feet for a birdie at the par-five 12th. Nielsen stayed one ahead thanks in part because of Funk's inability to make any birdies. Funk had some good looks at birdie, but couldn't convert any of them. He parred out, but Nielsen still had some magic left. Nielsen birdied the short 16th to move two clear with one hole left. To punctuate the win, Nielsen drained a 12-footer for birdie at the last to pad his margin of victory.

In 2008, Argentina's Eduardo Romero carded rounds of 65-65-69 to pick up his second Champions Tour title at this event. Romero completed the event at 18-under-par 199 for a one-stroke win over Fulton Allem and Gary Koch. With the win, Romero became the first international winner at this golf course since 1997 when Gabriel Hjertstedt captured the B.C. Open.

In 2007, R.W. Eaks fired weekend rounds of 62-66 to cruise to a three-stroke win over Bruce Vaughan at the inaugural event. Eaks closed his first Champions Tour win at 17-under-par 199.

This event is being played in Endicott, New York at En-Joie Golf Course, designed by Ernie Smith in 1927. En-Joie hosted the B.C. Open on the PGA Tour from 1971 to 2005. Past winners of that event include Gil Morgan, Tom Kite, Don Pooley, Jay Haas, Wayne Levi, Couples, John Daly, Hal Sutton, Funk, Brad Faxon, Jeff Sluman and Craig Stadler.

En-Joie was the first corporate-built golf course in the country. It was built for the Endicott Johnson workers in 1927-28 and opened in 1929. Endicott- Johnson was a large shoe manufacturer in the Endicott area. En-Joie was completely redesigned due to flooding that has occurred over the years. The course was built in an apple orchard. However, currently no apple trees remain on the course. The bunkers, greens and tees were redesigned in 1996 by Michael Hurdzan and is a level course that is tree-lined, with water hazards in play on 10 holes. Most of the greens are slightly sloped, but some of them are very undulating.

Joey Sindelar and Mike Hulbert have played in over 20 events each on the PGA Tour at En-Joie, and two each on the Champions Tour. Sindelar was a two-time winner of the B.C. Open, making 17 cuts in 22 trips, with seven top-10 finishes. Hulbert also made 22 starts, winning in 1989 with 16 cuts made. Both players are native New Yorkers. Hulbert finished tied for eighth last year and Sindelar finished tied for 10th.

In three years, only one ace has been made in tournament history. That honor belongs to R.W. Eaks, who made a hole-in-one on the seventh hole during the second round in 2007. Eaks went on to win the event.

The Champions Tour heads to Canada next week for the inaugural Montreal Championship in Quebec.

06/22 16:09:55 ET

As of June 22, 2010, at 04:10 PM ET

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