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New Haven Register:
Travelers Tourney Blog

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cink hangs on

Stewart Cink parred the final hole Sunday to win the Travelers Championship by 1 shot over defending champion Hunter Mahan and Tommy Armour III.
Cink bounced his final drive of the day off the cartpath and up on the hill. It went 366 yards. But he landed his second shot just off the back edge of the green. Cink lagged his 22-foot putt 2 feet short, then made the par.
This is Cink's fifth victory on the PGA Tour and second one here. He won during his rookie year in 1997.

play resumes at 1:58

Can we complete the final round today? We will see.

-Joe Morelli

Delay in the action

there was a good crowd on hand for the final round of the Travelers Championship following around the final three groups, including leader Stewart Cink.

The final-round tee times were moved up today because of inclement weather, but they were not able to get the final round in before the horn blew at 12:57 p.m. There was a quick thunderstorm that passed through the Cromwell area. Cink, who leads Tommy Armour III and Heath Slocum by 1 shot, is on the 14th hole when play resumes...whenever that is.

Rain Delay

No sooner had I finished my blog entry stating that the rain may hold off for another hour or so than the horn sounded for a rain delay. It wasn't raining at the time of the delay, but it started about five minutes later and we're in the midst of a good thunderstorm right now.

Hopefully, it will pass through quickly. Otherwise, CBS's coverage of this event that begins at 3 p.m. may end up being live, and not on tape delay!

Tie at the Top

There's a tie atop the leaderboard, as Tommy Armour III and Stewart Cink are both at 16-under.

Meanwhile, Vijay Sing put his tee shot in the water at the par-5 13th and made bogey-6, drawing sarcastic groans of displeasure from some of the folks around me (Vijay isn't the most well-liked guy on tour).

Weatherwise, we're hearing there's rain in Hamden, even Kensington, but it's stayed away from Cromwell for the moment and hopefully will remain that way for about another hour. It is a bit windy on the course right now, however.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cink, 'Tek Knew Each other at Tech

Tournament leader Stewart Cink graduated from Georgia Tech in 1995, a year after Jason Varitek left the school and two years after Nomar Garciaparra departed to enter the amateur draft.

Cink says he's still cordial with both players and still occasionally runs into Varitek, who lives near Cink's home course, East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta.

"I've seen him at the driving range a couple of times, at a few charity events, but he's pretty private," Cink said. "We always catch up on things, but our schedules are (very divergent)."


Tomorrow's Tee Times Moved Up

Due to tomorrow's predicted afternoon thunderstorms, tee times for the final round of the Travelers Championship have been moved up to the morning.

Tee times will be from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., with players starting on the first and 10th holes and playing in threesomes. The leaders will tee off the first hole at 9:30 a.m. (meaning they should be done around 2 p.m.).

Gates will open at 6:30 a.m. Corporate hospitality venues will open at 9 a.m., food service at 10:30 a.m.

Travelers will offer free red umbrellas to the first 1,000 fans who enter through the tournament's main entrance gates.

Tickets are non-refundable.

For additional information, contact the Travelers Championship office at 860-502-6800.


DiMarco on the Mark

Remember Chris DiMarco, the gritty competitor who took Tiger to overtime in the 2005 Masters and also finished second in the following year's British Open? He's been out of the picture for a while, primarily a result of shoulder surgery last September.

But DiMarco is back … or, at least, almost back.

"We're in the right direction, that's for sure," he said following Saturday's 6-under par 64 that put him right in the mix in the Travelers Championship. "The tunnel was black about two months ago, but it's starting to get brighter now."

DiMarco, 39, has yet to finish in the top 10 of a tournament this year, and has finished in the top 25 just once. He's missed nine of 15 cuts. But recently, DiMarco noticed a flaw in his swing, and he's confident he's turned a corner.

"At the top of my swing, I could see my club," he noted. "That's not me. I just tried to, not necessarily (go) three-quarter, but (get) a shorter transition at the top, and it's working. I just tried to shorten it up."

DiMarco made eight birdies but offset that a bit with bogeys on 9 and 10.

"I made good putts on 9 and 10, they both lipped out," he reported. "I lipped out on 11 for birdie from about eight feet, and I missed about a 5, 6-footer on 15 for birdie. It could have been better, but you never complain about a 64."

At 11-under for the tourney, DiMarco figures to be in one of the final groups tomorrow.

"I'm foreseeing 14, 15, 16 under par probably leading by the end of the day," he predicted.

Of course, tomorrow's weather forecast isn't too rosy. With thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon, there's a good chance tee times will be early tomorrow morning. DiMarco doesn't care when he tees off; it won't change his routine tonight.

"(I'll) go eat some lunch, relax, have a couple of beers at night. If they tell me I have a 9:15 a.m. or a 1 p.m., it doesn't matter. It won't change anything, I'll be ready to go, one way or another."


Golf on the big screen

On a lighter note, in no specific order, here is a collection of golf movies. What's your favorite?

-Tin Cup

-Happy Gilmore


-The Legend of Bagger Vance

-Bobby Jones - Stroke of Genius

-Dead Solid Perfect

-Follow the Sun

-The Greatest Game Ever Played



Chris Hunn can be reached at

A look back...

Here is a look at some past champions beginning with 2000.
2000: Notah Begay III
2001: Phil Mickelson
2002: Phil Mickelson
2003: Peter Jacobsen
2004: Woody Austin
2005: Brad Foxon
2006: J.J. Henry
2007: Hunter Mahan
Former winners who are still alive are: Stewart Cink (1997), Begay, Henry and Mahan

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Leaderboard update

Stewart Cink remains in the lead, shooting a 3-under through six holes. Overall, the 1997 champion, is at 13-under. Kevin Streelman had another strong performance, shooting 8-under in the third round and is in second place at 12-under.

D.J. Trahan and Chad Campbell matched Streelman with a 62, the top score of the day.


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One Connecticut connection left...

J.J. Henry, a Fairfield native, is even after nine holes in the third round. Henry is at 4-under overall and tied for 55th place overall. Henry is the last Connecticut connection standing, after eight failed to make the cut Friday.
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Campbell, Trahan shooting to the top

Chad Campbell is now tied with Stewart Cink for first place. Campbell is at 7-under-par 70 through 13 holes here in the third round. He's at 10-under overall.

D.J. Trahan has moved into third place in round three. Trahan is at 6-under through 14 holes, with six birdies. He's at 9-under overall.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Today's weather...

It looks to be a hot and humid day at TPC Riverhighlands.
For a look at the weather at the Travelers Championship visit...

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Friday, June 20, 2008

As the second round winds down...

Stewart Cink owns the top spot on the leaderboard.

Cink, the 1997 champion, is 10-under-par 70 through day two. Today, he shot a 64 with seven birdies including an eagle on the eighth hole. Last year's Travelers winner Hunter Mahan is in second with a 131, along with Ken Duke and Lucas Glover. Mahan and Kevin Streelman finished with a 63, the top score for the second round.

The 154-man field appears to have just beat the rain that's on the way.
After day two, the cut is 3-under.

For a full look at the leaderboard check out...


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Moore enjoying the Travelers

Earlier today, Quinnipiac men's basketball coach Tom Moore, alongside assistant coach Scott Burrell, was spotted at the 15th hole supporting former high school classmate Fran Quinn. Quinn is at 1-under after the second round.


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Mahan leads

Last year's Travelers champion Hunter Mahan finished the day shooting a 63 and is now the overall leader at 9-under. Brad Adamonis is in second at 8-under and six others are knotted at 7-under.


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Better day for Streelman

After struggling in the opening round shooting 3-over-par 70, Kevin Streelman rebounded today finishing at 63. Streelman had eight birdies in round two and is now at 4-under.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Rocco's Coming! (To Rhode Island)

Rocco Mediate withdrew from the Travelers after his grueling loss to Tiger Woods in a 19-hole playoff on Monday at the U.S. Open out in San Diego. However, golf's newest folk hero will be nearby next week.

Mediate will play in the 10th annual CVS Charity Classic in Barrington, R.I. on Monday and Tuesday. The two-day event, hosted by Rhode Islanders Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon, features 20 players in 10, two-man fields. Mediate will be paired with Brandt Snedeker, who made a lot of new fans with his play at The Masters.

"We've got the darling of the Masters with the darling of the U.S. Open together, which is kinda cool," said Andrade.

Mediate was a late addition to the CVS. Boo Weekly, who was also slated to play in the Travelers, had to withdraw from both since his wife was due to give birth this week.

"I called him after Sunday's round and wished him luck for Monday," said Andrade. "Then I called him after Monday and told him the scenario -- Boo dropped out, would you like to come to Rhode Island next week and play? He said, 'Oh yeah, I'm in.' Which is great. He's such an added addition at such a late time. To do that for us really means a lot for the tournament.

It'll be the first time Mediate plays in the charity event. He should have a blast -- guys named Rocco normally feel pretty comfortable in Rhode Island.

"You would think," Andrade admitted. "He'll have a lot of protection."

Andrade also noted that Faxon, who withdrew from the Travelers earlier this week due to knee pain from offseason surgery, should play in the event using a cart.

"Swinging the golf club doesn't bother him, just the wear and tear of walking," Andrade reported.

We also asked Billy about how his longtime close friend, Roger Clemens, is doing these days. Andrade didn't want to comment, only saying that he has spoken with Clemens since the infamous Congressional hearings in March.

"Just awful," is how Andrade described the entire situation.


Leaderboard update

Here is an early look at the leaderboard for the second round.
Tom Pernice Jr. just finished the day at 2-under and is now 7-under-par 70. Vijay Singh is also at 7-under through the 15th hole. Also, Fred Funk and last year's Travelers champion Hunter Mahan are also at 7-under through 14 holes.
For a look at the complete leaderboard visit...
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Today's weather

The forecast for today at the TPC River Highlands doesn't look to promising as thunderstorms look to be on their way.
For a look at the forecast at the TPC River Highlands visit...


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Opening round leaderboard

Steve Lowery, Brian Davis, Johnson Wagner and Brad Adamonis all finish at the top after Day One, shooting 6-under-par 70. There are seven tied for second with a 65. There are 104 golfer - nearly two-thirds of the field - under par after the opening round.
For a look at the complete leaderbaord visit...
Round No. 2 begins with Brett Quigley, Richard Johnson and Steve Marino teeing off at 6:50 a.m. at the first hole. Tom Pernice Jr. , Kent Jones and Bubba Watson will also tee off at 6:50 a.m. at the tenth hole.

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Not so average

Register golf writer Joe Morelli, a.k.a. Average Joe, fared well with his three picks to win the Travelers Championship after the opening round.
Justin Rose (tied for fifth place) finished 5-under-par 70. Kenny Perry (tied for 11th place) finished 4 under and Rod Pampling finished 2 over.
Other notes…
Johnson Wagner finished with three eagles to force a three-way tie for first place, along with Steve Lowery and Brian Davis. The trio shot 6-under-par 70. Brad Adamonis is also at 6-under through 15 holes.


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Davis and Lowery tied at the top

Brian Davis parred the final two holes to finish the opening round at 6-under-par 70 and tie Steve Lowery for first place. Tim Herron is also 6-under though 16.
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Add another to the top

There is now a three-way tie at the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard. Tim Herron is 6-under-par 70 through 15 holes. Brian Davis is 6 under through 17 and Steve Lowery finished the day at 6 under.

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Leaderboard update

Brian Davis is tied with Steve Lowery for first place at 6-under-par 70. Davis is heading to the 17th hole. Davis has eight birdies including an eagle on the 16th hole. Lowery finished the day with seven birdies, including an eagle on the eighth hole.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

TPC River Highlands facts

  • The TPC River Highlands golf course is 6,820 yards
  • It's hosted the Greater Hartford Open from 1984-2003, the Buick Championship from 2004-2006 and the Travelers Championship in 2007 and this year.
  • Average tee size is 2,200 sq. ft.
  • Average green size is 5,500 sq. ft.
  • 25 acres of fairway
  • 60 acres of rough
  • 119 sand bunkers
  • 5 water hazards
  • Wildlife found on the course: coyote, deer, fox, rabbit and several different species of birds
  • According to Accusplit, the official pedometer of the PGA Tour, walking the entire 18 holes is equivalent to walking about 4.5 miles or 9,000 steps.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

How to spend a buck at the Travelers Championship

Here is a look at some prices at the Travelers Championship...
Crab cake caesar salad: $13
Crab cake sandwich: $12
Shrimp seafood sandwich: $7.50
Sirloin cheeseburger: $6.75
Dasani water: $3
Or you can test Heineken Light for free at the Heineken Light booth.
At the Tournament Merchandise Center, a Travelers hat and tee-shirt combination goes for $37. And for the little ones, the books "Count on Golf" and "The ABCs of Golf" by Susan Greene are available.

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Weather at the Travelers Championship

To get the latest look at the weather here at the Travelers Championship visit...

--- Chris Hunn
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Leaderboard update

Steve Lowery remains at the top of the leaderboard, finishing with a 6-under-par 70. Ken Duke, Lucas Glover and Michael Thompson are in a three-way tie for second place, shooting a 65.
Patrick Sheehan, a University of Hartford graduate, is at par through eight holes. Other notables are David Toms who finished the day at 3-under. Fred Funk is 1-under through six holes and Vijay Singh is at par through six holes.

--- Chris Hunn

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Sokol has superb day

Steve Sokol, of Oxford, finished the day shooting 1-over-par 70. The score marks his best round in the three he's played at TPC River Highlands. Sokol birdied four holes and bogeyed four holes. He's currently tied for 111th place.

Chris Hunn can be reached at

ESPN Radio Live at the Travelers

Jason Page, host of the ESPN Radio's show The Back Page, will broadcast live from the Travelers Championship beginning at 3 p.m. today and Friday on ESPN Radio 1300 and 1410.

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Eagle for Thompson

Michael Thompson, who joined the PGA Tour this year, shot an eagle on the 10th hole from 190 yards out. Thompson, 23, finished the day shooting a 66 and is in third place along with a cluster of others.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Leaderboard update

Steve Lowery is the currently sitting at the top of the Travelers Championship leaderboard, shooting 6-under-par 70 through 17 holes in the opening round. Ken Duke, who is in second, finished 5 under for the day. Four others, including Fairfield native J.J. Henry, are tied for third, shooting a 66. Also, Oxford's Steve Sokol is 2-over through 12 holes. Sokol had four bogeys through the back nine.

Chris Hunn can be reached at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Team Funk wins

Fred Funk, along with former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, Bill Wigglesworth and Joe Lacher won the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am championship, shooting a 15-under-par 70.
Heavy rainfall halted Wednesday's event, so scoring was broken down into three sections: 18-hole event, which Funk's team won, front nine and back nine.
Peter Leonard, Gary Taylor, Gary Gates and David Jones won the front nine, shooting a 26. Ryan Moore, Rob Linehan, Jack Linehan and Tom Linehan won the back nine, shooting a 30.
The first round of the Travelers Championship kicks off Thursday with Len Mattiace teeing off at 6:50 a.m.
For a complete list of tee times, go to
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Average Joe

Here is Joe Morelli a.k.a Average Joe blowing a 7-iron over the pin at yesterday's Celebrity closest-to-the-pin contest. Tiger Woods, he is not.


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Rain, rain, go away

A heavy rainfall has delayed the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am. Play will resume at 4:50 p.m. Bubba Watson leads the field, shooting a 62 (8-under).


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Joe Theismann highlights health forum

There will be a men's health seminar open to the public at 3:30 p.m. at the TPC River Highlands practice facility.

Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel will be the emcee of the event.

The seminar will feature former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, golfers Fred Funk, Nick Flanagan and Jason Gore. Jeffrey Fronk, personal trainer for golfer Vijay Singh, will also be in attendance along with Funk's wife Sharon Funk.


Chris Hunn can be reached at

Sights and surprises

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and other Boston Celtics apparel appear abundant today at TPC River Highlands after the Celtics captured the NBA championship Tuesday night.

The final groups - Notah Begay III, Mitchell Etess and James Gessner, along with Steve Marino, Spencer Macli, Tony Macracken and Jordan Rubinstein - recently teed off in the Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am.

While spectators aren't watching the celebrities swing their way through the 18-hole course, some can be found at golf swing analysis booths or eating $5.50 sirloin cheeseburgers.

Also, the news that Tiger Woods will miss the remainder of the season as he plans to undergo reconstructive ACL surgery has caused some shock.

The announcement comes just days after Woods won the U.S. Open.

"You're kidding," said spectator John Kearns of Cromwell when he was informed of the news. "He sacrificed a lot for one more major. He's probably asking himself was it worth it or not. He's always the biggest draw so it will probably hurt the sport a little bit but it should make things a little more competitive."
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Henry partners with First Tee

Fairfield native J.J. Henry announced his charity, The Henry House Foundation, will partner with the First Tee chapters in Connecticut and take part in long-term projects to benefit children.
The project is set to last at least three years and will fund aspects of the new First Tee of Connecticut Facility at TPC River Highlands.
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Celebrity Pro-Am

Some notable names are set to tee of in today's Travelers Celebrity Pro-Am.

At noon, last year's champion Hunter Mahan will tee off with Dwight Evans, Aidan Quinn and Christopher Dadlez. Fairfield native and 2006 event winner J.J. Henry is paired with Doug Flutie, Chris Berman and John Buccigross. That group will tee off at 12:20 p.m.

At 12:40 p.m., actor Joe Pesci, along with Bill Ghio and John Couglin will tee off with golfer Billy Andrade. And at 12:50 p.m., Charlie Wi will tee off with Bill Belichick, Brian Belichick and Arthur Godbout.

For complete listings of groups and tee times visit...
Chris Hunn can be reached at

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rocco Withdraws

U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate has withdrawn from this week's Travelers Championship.

Mediate had committed to the Travelers on Friday morning, following his opening-round 69 at Torrey Pines. That led Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube to believe Mediate would still play this week at TPC River Highlands, since Mediate committed even while knowing he'd likely be playing over the weekend at the Open.

But apparently, Monday's 18-hole playoff and one hole of sudden-death playoff were too taxing on Mediate.

"Did I think he was going to (withdraw)? No," Grube said. "But am I shocked that he did it? No."

But Grube insisted that, while disappointed in Mediate's decision, he understood it – and didn't believe it would have a traumatic effect on this week's tourney.

"Rocco would have been a nice addition, but there's another Rocco in our field," Grube said. "There's someone else that can come along, capture (the fans' hearts). I mean, that's the beauty of the PGA Tour. We can have a Rocco on Sunday. We had a Rocco last year in Jay Williamson. That's what's so unique about the tour."

Mediate informed the PGA shortly after his loss to Woods that he wouldn't be coming to Cromwell.

"It's just one of those things," Grube summed up. "We would have loved to have seen him, but I totally understand."

Other withdrawals: Ryuji Imada, Jeff Quinney, Fredrick Jacobson, John Merrick, Nick Watney, Rich Beem (on Sunday), Arron Oberholser (on Saturday) and Jesper Parnevik (on Friday).


The People's Choice

It's amazing how palpable the pro-Rocco element has been all day here at TPC River Highlands: from the caddies to the few fans lining the fairways for the pro-am, even to a few players.

After completing his pro-am round, one PGA Tour player checked his PDA for U.S. Open results. "Oh no," he said as he read the results. "Bad news ... looks like Tiger won."

One volunteer worker who was in the caddy shack for a couple of hours in the morning said the caddies were 100 percent behind Rocco.

I'm sure much of this has to do with what a genuinely nice guy Rocco Mediate seems to be. He's surely one of the most popular players on tour amongst his fellow Tour members. But there definitely seems to be some anti-Tiger sentiment, too. Or maybe people just naturally gravitate towards the underdog.


Rocco Coming?

Greetings from TPC River Highlands, where I've drawn the (n)ever-popular Monday duty at the Travelers Championship. Not a whole lot going on here right now. Most media types in the press room are watching Tiger vs. Rocco in the U.S. Open playoff.

Speaking of Rocco (Mediate, of course), the $64,000 question remains whether the current talk of the golf world will still be coming to the Travelers. Mediate committed on Friday morning, following his opening-round 69 at Torrey Pines. While Travelers officials have no idea if today's playoff with Tiger Woods will change Mediate's plans to come, they're certainly crossing their fingers.

"I don't think he would have committed on Friday if he wasn't planning on coming," said tourney director Nathan Grube. "If he had shot a horrible round on Thursday, thinking he was going to miss the cut, and committed on Friday, that would be one thing. But he's up near the leaderboard, thinking 'I'll probably be here for the weekend', and then he committed. So, all the facts point to the fact that we're probably going to see him. But we'll see."

The Travelers sent a charter flight out to San Diego to transport players from the Open to Hartford this morning. About 50 Tour players and 100 people total were on the flight (which should land at Bradley around 4 p.m.). Mediate had already planned his own travel arrangements. The Travelers still has people out at Torrey Pines waiting for the right time to gently persuade Mediate to still come to Cromwell.

"They're trying very subtly to say, 'Hey, obviously we still want you. Is there anything we can do to make the trip easier?'" Grube reported. "We're around him, letting him know we're there to help him."

Tourney officials may not know if Rocco is coming until tomorrow night.

"It's such a great Open for him, everybody was so excited and behind him," Grube added. "If he doesn't come, it doesn't change the fact that what he's doing is amazing. But obviously, we'd love to have him."



This is where New Haven Register staffers Chriss Hunn, Joe Morelli, Chip Malafronte, Dave Borges and Dan Nowak will offer additional coverage of the Travelers. Visit for complete coverage.

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