2019 Ally Challenge Preview

The Ally Challenge

  • Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club
  • Grand Blanc, Michigan
  • September 13-15, 2019

Quick Facts

  • Golf Course: Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club (Par 72 / 7,085 yards)
  • Course Designer: Joe Lee (1957)
  • Purse: $2,000,000 (Winner: $300,000)
  • Golf Channel Coverage: All three rounds, 6-8 p.m. ET (tape delay)

Field Overview (as of 9/10/19)

  • The push for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs will continue at the second-annual Ally Challenge in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
  • Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, the longtime venue of the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open, will host 28 of the top-30 players in the Charles Schwab Cup, including defending champion Paul Broadhurst.
  • The field also includes two-time major winner Angel Cabrera, who will make his PGA TOUR Champions debut.
  • Past Buick Open winners Fred Couples and Vijay Singh are two of the eight members of the World Golf Hall of Fame in the field, while Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron will look to add to his lead in the fourth-to-last event of the regular season.
  • 28 of the top-30 players in the Charles Schwab Cup
  • 8 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Fred Couples, Retief Goosen, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Vijay Singh
  • 72 of 78 players played in the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open at Warwick Hills
  • The six players that did not are Paul Broadhurst, Angel Cabrera, Gibby Gilbert III, Colin Montgomerie, Scott Parel and Mark Walker
  • In all, the field made 712 starts at the Buick Open, totaling 85 top-10s and over $18.3 million in winnings
  • 9 players that won 12 total titles at the Buick Open
  • 55 PGA TOUR winners with 331 total career victories
  • 51 PGA TOUR Champions winners with 261 total career victories
  • 24 players with a PGA TOUR Champions major victory; 18 with a PGA TOUR major

2018 Recap: Broadhurst Wins Inaugural Ally Challenge

  • Last year, Paul Broadhurst posted his third win of the season and second in the state of Michigan when he won the inaugural Ally Challenge.
  • The Englishman carded a final-round 66 and finished at 15-under to win by two over Brandt Jobe, while Tom Lehman and Mark O’Meara finished tied for third.
  • In addition to his win in Grand Blanc, Broadhurst won his second senior major title in May at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor.
  • He finished the season 10th in the Charles Schwab Cup and with $1,513,061 in winnings, his highest season total as a professional.
  • Broadhurst was one of eight players in last year’s field that did not play the Buick Open on the PGA TOUR.
  • Four of his five wins on PGA TOUR Champions have come in his first start on that golf course, with the exception being the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Warwick Hills Connections

  • Warwick Hills hosted the PGA TOUR’s Buick Open 51 times between 1958 and 2009 (in 1977, the tournament was played at nearby Flint Elks Country Club).
  • This week’s field features nine players that won 12 total titles at the Buick Open, led by three-time winner Vijay Singh and two-time winner Kenny Perry.
  • If The Ally Challenge is won by one of the nine Buick Open winners, it would be the 18th time a player has won a PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions event on the same golf course.
  • Earlier this season, Scott McCarron won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic at TPC Sugarloaf, site of his victories at the 1997 and 2001 BellSouth Classic.
  • At last year’s Ally Challenge, six Buick Open champions finished in the top-25: Rocco Mediate (T5/-11), Fred Couples (T13/-9), Dan Forsman (T13/-9), Billy Mayfair (T17/-8), Perry (T17/-8) and Singh (T24/-7).
Year Buick Open Champion Score Runner(s)-up
2008 Kenny Perry -19 Woody Austin, Bubba Watson (-18)
2005 Vijay Singh -24 Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods (-20)
2004 Vijay Singh -23 John Daly (-22)
2001 Kenny Perry -25 Chris DiMarco, Jim Furyk (-23)
2000 Rocco Mediate -20 Chris Perry (-19)
1999 Tom Pernice Jr. -18 Tom Lehman, 2 others (-17)
1998 Billy Mayfair -17 Scott Verplank (-15)
1997 Vijay Singh -15 Russ Cochran, 5 others (-11)
1995 Woody Austin -18 Mike Brisky (playoff)
1994 Fred Couples -18 Corey Pavin (-16)
1993 Larry Mize -16 Fuzzy Zoeller (-15)
1992 Dan Forsman -12 Steve Elkington, Brad Faxon (playoff)

Cabrera Makes PGA TOUR Champions Debut

  • Angel Cabrera, winner of the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters, will turn 50 on September 12, and he will make his PGA TOUR Champions debut at The Ally Challenge.
  • The Argentine made the cut in two of nine starts this season on the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com Tour), with his best finish being T55 at the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes.
  • His last made cut on the PGA TOUR was a T34 finish at the 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship.
  • Cabrera is the fourth major winner to make his Tour debut this year, joining Retief Goosen, Shaun Micheel and Paul Lawrie.
  • The last player to win in his first start on PGA TOUR Champions was Miguel Angel Jimenez at the 2014 Mitsubishi Electric Classic.
Player PGA TOUR Champions Debut Finish
Retief Goosen Oasis Championship T24
Shaun Micheel Rapiscan Systems Classic T51
Paul Lawrie Insperity Invitational T53
Angel Cabrera The Ally Challenge TBD

A Hall of Fame Field
The top-40 in the Charles Schwab Cup features six members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and all six players will compete in this week’s Ally Challenge.

4. Bernhard Langer has two wins this season, including his Tour-record 11th major victory at The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex. The five-time Charles Schwab Cup champion is the Tour’s all-time leading money winner ($28,097,783) and is second on the all-time wins list (40).

6. Retief Goosen turned 50 on February 3, 2019, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame during the week of the U.S. Open. One month later, he tallied his first victory at the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, breaking a winless streak of 10 years, 3 months, 22 days and 190 starts in PGA TOUR-sanctioned events. He became the first rookie to win a major since Paul Broadhurst (2016 Senior Open Championship).

18. Colin Montgomerie has six top-10s this season and posted his season-best finish (T4) last month at the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open. His last victory came at the 2017 SAS Championship, and a win this week would break a winless drought of 47 starts on PGA TOUR Champions.

25. Fred Couples has five top-10s in nine starts this season, and he’s coming off back-to-back top-three finishes. At the Boeing Classic, he made a hole-in-one in his second-round 63 and took the 36-hole lead, but closed with a 76 on Sunday and finished T3 in his hometown event.

39. Vijay Singh is looking for his first top-10 since he finished T7 at the Insperity Invitational in May. He is eighth on Tour in birdie average (3.89 per round) despite being No. 63 in driving accuracy (54.92%).

40. Mark O’Meara won the Cologuard Classic in March at the age of 62 years, 1 month, 18 days. He’s the fifth-oldest winner in Tour history and he broke a winless streak of 8 years, 4 months, 21 days, the third-longest gap between victories.

McCarron’s Large Lead in the Charles Schwab Cup

Scott McCarron has led the Charles Schwab Cup standings since he won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in April, a streak of 14 consecutive weeks. He leads the Tour in scoring (69.36 average), birdies (4.24 per round) and top-10s (12), and he’s coming off his third runner-up finish of the season at the Shaw Charity Classic. At last year’s inaugural Ally Challenge, McCarron was in a three-way tie for the lead after two rounds, but he finished T33 after a final-round 77, tied for the worst score of his PGA TOUR Champions career.

During McCarron’s reign atop the standings, five different players have been No. 2: Bernhard Langer (2 weeks), Kirk Triplett (3 weeks), Ken Tanigawa (2 weeks), Steve Stricker (4 weeks) and Jerry Kelly (3 weeks), who currently trails by more than $750,000.

Rank Player Events Earnings Wins Trailing
1 Scott McCarron 19 $2,318,965 3  
2 Jerry Kelly 16 $1,561,882 1 $757,083
3 Steve Stricker 9 $1,534,327 2 $784,638
4 Bernhard Langer 15 $1,276,279 2 $1,042,686
5 Scott Parel 20 $1,271,681 0 $1,047,284

Great Golf in the Great Lakes State

  • In addition to the past champions of the Buick Open, three players in the field have won a senior major in Michigan, as Colin Montgomerie (2014), Rocco Mediate (2016) and Paul Broadhurst (2018) won the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship when it was played at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor.
  • The other senior majors played in Michigan were the U.S Senior Open at Oakland Hills Country Club (won by Arnold Palmer in 1981 and Jack Nicklaus in 1991) and the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship at TPC Michigan from 1990-2006.
  • Prior to The Ally Challenge, the last co-sponsored PGA TOUR Champions event in Michigan was the Greater Grand Rapids Open, which was played from 1986-2004 at Elks Country Club, The Highlands and Egypt Valley Country Club.

Best Scoring Averages at the Buick Open (minimum 5 starts)

  • At the Buick Open, Vijay Singh carded under-par rounds 34 of 42 times, including each of his last 17 rounds.
  • His career-best score at Warwick Hills was 63 (R1/2004, R3/2005) and he only missed the cut once (1993) in 11 starts.
Player Starts Top-10s Best Average Money
Vijay Singh 11 5 Win (1997, 2004, 2005) 68.88 $2,258,437.60
Woody Austin 15 7 Win (1995) 68.89 $1,642,195.23
Kenny Perry 16 4 Win (2001, 2008) 69.21 $1,981,519.57
Tom Kite 16 5 2nd (1982) 69.72 $200,797.61
Stephen Leaney 5 0 T12 (2005) 69.72 $183,824.70

Most Money Won at the Buick Open (minimum $700,000)

Player Starts Top-10s Best Average Money
Vijay Singh 11 5 Win (1997, 2004, 2005) 68.88 $2,258,437.60
Kenny Perry 16 4 Win (2001, 2008) 69.21 $1,981,519.57
Woody Austin 15 7 Win (1995) 68.89 $1,642,195.23
Tom Pernice Jr. 18 3 Win (1999) 69.89 $903,260.35
Chris DiMarco 14 2 T2 (2001, 2003) 69.96 $768,320.14
Rocco Mediate 19 3 Win (2000) 70.23 $730,963.74

Most Starts at the Buick Open

Player Starts Top-10s Best Average Money
Jeff Sluman 23 3 T3 (1995) 70.08 $553,128.29
Tom Byrum 22 3 T2 (1997) 70.24 $426,252.23
Russ Cochran 20 1 T2 (1997) 70.88 $183,088.98
Tommy Armour III 19 1 T9 (1999) 71.63 $108,388.36
Rocco Mediate 19 3 Win (2000) 70.23 $730,963.74

Most Top-10s at the Buick Open

  • Woody Austin tallied 52 top-10s on the PGA TOUR, seven of which came at the Buick Open.
  • Austin averaged $109,479 per start at the Buick Open, while he averaged $28,238 per start in his other 529 PGA TOUR starts.
Player Starts Top-10s Best Average Money
Woody Austin 15 7 Win (1995) 68.89 $1,642,195.23
Tom Kite 16 5 2nd (1982) 69.72 $200,797.61
Vijay Singh 11 5 Win (1997, 2004, 2005) 68.88 $2,258,437.60
Kenny Perry 16 4 Win (2001, 2008) 69.21 $1,981,519.57
Dudley Hart 16 4 T4 (2001) 70.02 $625,468.33
Mark O’Meara 18 4 T2 (2002) 70.55 $450,279.03
Fred Couples 13 4 Win (1994) 69.92 $355,936.46
Gene Sauers 12 4 T4 (1985) 70.48 $100,832.73

PGA TOUR Champions – 2019 Season Overview

Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs

  • The 2019 Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs will begin with 72 players at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic (Oct. 14-20).
  • The top54 will advance to the Invesco QQQ Championship (Oct. 28 – Nov. 3), and the season will conclude with the top-36 players at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship (Nov. 4-10), where they will compete for the Charles Schwab Cup.
  • At the start of the Playoffs, each player’s regular-season money total will become the equivalent number of points (e.g. $330,000 equals 330,000 points).
  • During the three Playoffs events, each dollar earned is worth two points, and those points will be added to a player’s regular-season point total.
  • After the Dominion Energy Charity Classic, the top 54 players will advance, and after the Invesco QQQ Championship, the top 36 players will qualify for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
  • The player with the most points at the conclusion of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship will win the Charles Schwab Cup.

The 2019 Rookie Class

  • For players to become eligible to compete for PGA TOUR Champions events they must turn 50 years of age by the first competition round.
  • If a player plays less than six tournaments in his first season of eligibility, he is considered a rookie the following season.
  • Newcomers for 2019 with at least one PGA TOUR win include:
    • Shaun Micheel (January 5, 1969)
    • Retief Goosen (February 3, 1969)
    • Frank Lickliter, II (July 28, 1969)
    • Shigeki Maruyama (September 12, 1969)
    • Angel Cabrera (September 12, 1969)
    • Rod Pampling (September 23, 1969)

Upcoming rookie classes include:

  • 2020 – Ernie Els (October 17, 1969), Tim Herron (February 6, 1970), Jim Furyk (May 12, 1970), Mike Weir (May 12, 1970), K.J. Choi (May 19, 1970), Phil Mickelson (June 16, 1970)
  • 2021 – John Senden (April 20, 1971), Stuart Appleby (May 1, 1971), Robert Allenby (July 12, 1971), Padraig Harrington (August 31, 1971)
  • 2022 – David Duval (November 9, 1971), Brian Gay (December 14, 1971), Y.E. Yang (January 15, 1972), Justin Leonard (June 15, 1972), Notah Begay II (September 14, 1972)

2019 Schedule

  • The 2019 schedule features 27 official tournaments in Canada, Japan, England and 19 states, with prize money totaling nearly $58 million.
  • After the 24-event Regular Season, the fourth-annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs will determine the winner of the season-long race for the Charles Schwab Cup.
  1. Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai: Tom Lehman closed with a 7-under 65 to erase a four-shot deficit and win the season-opener with a 17-under total. Lehman topped David Toms, who opened with rounds of 65-65 and led by four at the start of the final round. He maintained a three-shot cushion through 12 but was 1-over on his last six holes, including a three-putt bogey on No. 18, and fell one shot shy of Lehman’s winning total.
  2. Oasis Championship: Bernhard Langer became the tournament’s first repeat champion, winning with a tournament-record score of 19-under 197. His five-stroke victory over Marco Dawson is the largest margin in the Oasis Championship’s 13-year history. With the win, he surpassed Hale Irwin and became No. 1 on the Tour’s all-time money list.
  3. Chubb Classic: Miguel Angel Jimenez defeated Bernhard Langer and Olin Browne on the first playoff hole to secure his seventh career victory Sunday at the Chubb Classic. Jimenez posted the day’s only bogey-free round, a 5-under 66, and played the last 39 holes (38 regulation, 1 playoff) of the tournament bogey free.
  4. Cologuard Classic: Mark O’Meara ended an eight-year winless drought when he won the Cologuard Classic by closing with a 7-under 66 for a four-shot victory. At 8 years, 4 months and 21 days, it is the second-longest gap between victories on Tour. The 62-year-old became the fourth-oldest winner in PGA TOUR Champions history.
  5. Hoag Classic: Kirk Triplett defeated Woody Austin on the second playoff hole when he made a 12-foot eagle putt to claim his seventh victory on PGA TOUR Champions. It was Triplett’s second playoff in his career, improving his record to 2-0.
  6. Rapiscan Systems Classic: Kevin Sutherland birdied the seventh playoff hole Monday morning and defeated Scott Parel to win the Rapiscan Systems Classic. Sutherland led by three after 36 holes, but a 3-over 75 on Sunday left him tied at 7-under with Parel, who erased a six-shot deficit with a final-round 69. The two players played five extra holes Sunday evening before play was suspended due to darkness.
  7. Mitsubishi Electric Classic: Scott McCarron posted his ninth win on PGA TOUR Champions and third victory at TPC Sugarloaf, as he won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in wire-to-wire fashion at TPC Sugarloaf, site of two of his PGA TOUR victories. McCarron was the only player to card three rounds under par (68-70-71) and his 7-under total was two shots better than Joe Durant, Jerry Kelly, Kirk Triplett and Kent Jones.
  8. Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge: Scott Hoch and Tom Pernice Jr. opened the final round with a hole-in-one on the first hole and won with a tournament-record total of 23-under. At 63 years, 5 months and 4 days, Hoch became the oldest player to win on PGA TOUR Champions.
  9. Insperity Invitational: Three back-nine birdies lifted Scott McCarron to a two-stroke victory over Scott Parel at the Insperity Invitational. It was his second win of the season, extending his streak to four straight years with multiple victories, and he became the 38th player with at least 10 wins on PGA TOUR Champions.
  10. Regions Tradition: Steve Stricker captured his first major championship title as he closed with a 4-under 68 for a six-shot victory over Billy Andrade, Paul Goydos and David Toms. It was Stricker’s fourth win in 18 PGA TOUR Champions starts and he became the 15th player to make the Regions Tradition his first major victory. Due to inclement weather over the weekend, the tournament finished on Monday.
  11. KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship: Ken Tanigawa overcame a three-shot deficit on the back nine to pass defending champion Paul Broadhurst and win the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship by one stroke. Tanigawa converted a 10-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to secure his first major championship victory.
  12. Principal Charity Classic: Kevin Sutherland shot a course-record 62 and erased an eight-shot deficit, the third largest in PGA TOUR Champions history, to win on the second playoff hole. Sutherland made eight back-nine birdies to catch first- and second-round leader Scott Parel, who shot a final-round 70 and was unable to match Sutherland’s birdie on the second extra hole.
  13. Mastercard Japan Championship: With three birdies on the back nine, Scott McCarron edged away from the field and won by three over Billy Andrade and Kirk Triplett.  It was his third win of the season and his 11th overall, making him the 31st player to win at least 11 titles on PGA TOUR Champions.
  14. American Family Insurance Championship: Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly defeated tournament host Steve Stricker and World Golf Hall of Fame member Retief Goosen in a three-hole playoff to secure his fourth victory Sunday at the American Family Insurance Championship. Kelly became the tournament’s fourth straight come-from-behind winner as he started the day T5.
  15. U.S. Senior Open: Steve Stricker claimed his first U.S. Senior Open victory and second major championship win of the year with a six-stroke win over Jerry Kelly and David Toms. After building a six-shot lead through 54 holes, Stricker carded a final-round 69 to finish at 19-under 261, the second-lowest score in relation to par in U.S. Senior Open history.
  16. Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship: With birdies on the last two holes, Retief Goosen won by two strokes with a 6-under total and captured his first senior major title at Firestone Country Club. It marked the 17th time the tournament was won by a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the first PGA TOUR-sanctioned win for Goosen since the 2009. With the victory, Goosen earned an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship in 2020.
  17. The Senior Open Championship presented by Rolex: Trailing by three at the start of the final round, Bernhard Langer shot a final-round 66 to win his fourth Senior Open title and his Tour-record 11th senior major. It was his 40th win, second most in PGA TOUR Champions history, and he became the third player to win the same major four times.
  18. DICK’S Sporting Goods Open: Open qualifier Doug Barron won the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open by two strokes over Fred Couples to secure his first title on PGA TOUR Champions. Barron, who had to go through the tournament’s pre-qualifier to earn a spot in the Open qualifier, became the first player in PGA TOUR Champions history to survive both qualifiers and win that same week.
  19. Boeing Classic: Brandt Jobe overcame a seven-shot deficit on Sunday to close in 63 at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge to capture the second PGA TOUR Champions title of his career. Overnight leader and Seattle native Fred Couples entered the final round with a five-shot lead but bogeyed five of his final 13 holes for a 4-over 76.
  20. Shaw Charity Classic: Wes Short, Jr.’s second shot caromed off a rock and bounced onto the 18th green, which set-up a two-putt birdie and a one-stroke victory over two-time defending champion Scott McCarron. It was Short’s second win on PGA TOUR Champions, and it broke a streak of 125 starts since his last victory (2014 Quebec Championship).
  21. The Ally Challenge
  22. Sanford International
  23. PURE Insurance Championship
  24. SAS Championship
  25. Dominion Energy Charity Classic
  26. Invesco QQQ Championship
  27. Charles Schwab Cup Championship
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