2010 TOURNAMENT NEWS
Marsh and Bell 2010 Champions
Kevin Marsh, of Henderson, NV, won the Mid-Amateur Division of the Carlton Woods Invitational with a dramatic comeback round. Marsh started his third and final round poorly, with 5 bogeys in his first nine holes. Birdies on the par 5 4th and 8th holes left him with a disappointing 39, and a two shot deficit to Robbie McWilliams of Bossier City, LA. Marsh was three behind after a bogey on the tenth hole that included a pitch played from within the water hazard. A chip-in birdie for Marsh and a bogey for McWilliams created a two shot swing, and Marsh followed with 4 more birdies in the final eight holes. His final round 71 gave him a record setting three round total of 216.
Mike Bell, of Indianapolis, IN, won the Senior Division in a two hole playoff. Bell also started slowly, with bogeys on his first two holes. He followed with steady pars and birdies on the 8th, 11th and 15th holes. Playing one group behind was Hunter Nelson, of Houston, TX. Thinking that Bell had birdied the 18th hole, Nelson went for the par 5 18th green in two, but came up short and in the water, leading to a bogey six and a three round total of 6 over par, tied with Bell. The resulting playoff was held on the 18th hole. Nelson calmly stroked in a ten foot par putt to extend the playoff, but lost the next hole with a bogey to Bell’s par.
Marsh, the 2005 USGA Mid-Amateur Champion, described his front nine play as “awful”. He credited the start of his turnaround to a good break on 10 when his ball skipped off the water and came to rest on a playable strip of ground inside the hazard. The pitch out and resulting bogey “could have been one stroke worse”. At that stage his goal was “to hang in there and give myself a chance”. Defending his 2009 Carlton Woods Invitational Title was special. “Any time you’re on a trophy for two years in a row, it really stands out”.
For Bell, “the shot of the tournament for me” came on the 11th hole, where he was denied relief from a difficult lie and then hit his utility club to 5 feet from the hole for a needed birdie. His next birdie came on the difficult 15th, the signature hole of the Jack Nicklaus Course. Bell is a late bloomer to golf. He played baseball as a kid, worked as a caddie and won an Evans Scholarship for Caddies in Chicago. He worked hard on his game beginning at age 50, and achieved his secret goal of a USGA Senior Amateur Title in 2006 at Victoria National in his home state of Indiana.
The low round of the day was a 70 shot by Mike Booker of The Woodlands TX.
2010 Invitational Mid-Am Champion - Kevin Marsh
(2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion)
2010 Senior Champion - Mike Bell
(2006 U.S. Sr. Amateur Champion)
Day Two Leaders at Carlton Woods Invitational
Bill Jackson, of Oklahoma City, OK, shot an even par 72 in a second day of windy and difficult conditions on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course to take the second day lead with a 5 over par total of 147 in the Senior Division of the Carlton Woods Invitational. Jackson had a great ball striking day, hitting 14 greens in regulation, and “not chipping all day”. In his words, “the course penalized any poor shot hit into a bad place and rewarded good shots”. His front nine had 8 pars and one bogey, after hitting into the bunker on the par three 7th hole. His back nine included birdies on the difficult par four 10th and 15th holes, but he gave one shot back with a three put bogey on the 14th hole.
Right behind Jackson is Bob Kain of LaQuinta, CA, who shot the low round of the day in the Senior Division with a one under par 71. Kain’s round began with a difficult start that left him three over par after 6 holes. He turned things around with 5 birdies on the last 10 holes. He had one bogey in that stretch, which was nearly disaster, when his 6 iron shot into the par three 17th was caught by the wind and finished short and left of the hole in the hazard. The right handed Kain turned the club over and hit a left handed chip near a rock, then hit a great flop shot and a successful bogey putt. His 77-71, 148 is alone in second place. Four players are tied for third at 151: John Grace of Fort Worth, TX , Mike Rice of Houston, TX, Bob Hullender of San Antonio, TX and Mike Bell of Indianapolis, IN.
Kevin Marsh, the 2005 USGA Mid-Amateur Champion fired a second round 73 to take a one stroke lead in the Mid-Am Division over Brady Exbert. Marsh’s 73-72, 145 leads by one over the 73-73, 146 of his frequent partner and Las Vegas neighbor Exbert. In third place is Robbie McWilliams of Bossier City, LA, who followed and opening round 75 with a 73 today for a total of 148.
Marsh described the course conditions as similar to the first round, where high winds once again made the course play very hard. Green speeds were high, and Marsh “couldn’t imagine a round without a bogey”, even from such a strong field. He started the day with a tough two putt on the first hole, making a second putt of 15 feet after his first went past the hole by 15 feet. He was long on the 440 yard second hole with a driver and 8 iron, as the big tailwind made club selection difficult. He birdied the par 5 eighth hole after pushing his drive to the right of the huge waste bunker and hacking an 8 iron back into play from high rough and weeds, then hitting a wedge to 30 feet and making the long, big-breaking putt. His next birdie was on his next par-5, the 13th hole, where a second shot driver from the fairway left him on the fringe, with a chip to a few feet from the hole and a far easier putt. Three putt bogeys on the 14th and 17th holes were offset by a solid birdie on the 18th, after hitting a low 60 degree wedge from about 60 yards to less than 5 feet.
Exbert’s round had lots of excitement, starting with a 45 foot birdie putt on the first hole. On the fourth hole, he tried to lay up safely with his second shot and pulled it left into the lake, but recovered with an 8 iron near the flagstick and a successful par putt. Birdies on the 7th and 8th hole set up a fine front nine of 35. His putter went cold on the back nine, and his lone birdie on the 13th hole was not enough to offset 3 putts on the 12th, 14th and 15th holes. Across the board players commented on the fast, sloping greens that were hard to two putt. McWilliams had a fine ball striking day hitting 14 of the 18 greens and including easy two putt birdies after hitting both the front nine par 5’s in two. On the back nine he was on the fringe in two on the par 5 13th for an easy birdie, but triple bogeyed the par 4 15th after driving out of bounds on the right side of the hole, then re-teeing and hitting into the hazard on the left.
The low round of the day in the Mid-Am Division was played by Jeff New of The Woodlands, TX, who hit shot 71. He started his round with 12 straight pars, then a bogey on the par five 13th hole and birdies on the 16th and 17th holes. He hit 14 greens in regulation and managed the difficult greens without a single three putt.
Final round play begins with tee times from 8:00 to 8:30 for the two lead groups in each Division and a shotgun start for all the other contestants.
Day One Leaders at Carlton Woods Invitational
After teaming up for the 2010 victory at the Champions Cup, partners Kevin Marsh and Brady Exbert have returned to Texas to take the lead in the Mid-Am Division of the Carlton Woods Invitational. Marsh and Exbert live 30 miles apart in the Las Vegas Nevada area, where the windy season helped prepare them for the difficult and blustery conditions of the first day at Carlton Woods. Both shot one over par 73’s on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, to lead by one stroke over Tim Jackson, of Germantown, Tennessee and Kirk Noyes, of The Woodlands, TX. Marsh is the 2005 USGA Mid Amateur National Champion, and Jackson won the USGA Mid-Amateur National Title in 1994 and 2001. Exbert was pleased with the way he played and may have had a bit of an advantage with an early starting time, before the shifting, afternoon winds became “schizophrenic” as Kirk Noyes described them. Exbert shot his 73 in spite of two three-putt greens and one four putt green. He described the greens as both “unbelievably good and unbelievably tough”.
The three day, stroke play event includes a Mid-Amateur Division for players over 25 years of age, and a Senior Division for players over 55. Marsh described the golf course as “fabulous” and the event as the “most welcoming” tournament he plays. Competition will resume tomorrow morning and conclude mid-day Thursday, with all rounds on the Nicklaus Course.
In the Senior Division, Mike Bell and John Grace are tied for the lead with 2 over par 74’s. John Grace, the Defending Champion and 2009 USGA Sr Amateur Runner-up made 16 pars and 2 bogeys, with no birdies but many great par putts. He “looked at a scoreboard of great players with high scores and was not surprised”. Bell and Rice both drove the ball extremely well, then struggled with club selection in the big afternoon winds. With a good drive on the 16th hole and only 94 yards to the front pin position, Bell tried to hit his sand wedge into the wind. To his disappointment, the shot that normally goes 106 yards came up 10 feet short of the entire green, leaving a difficult chip and a bogey. It was a very tough wind. One shot behind are Mike Rice, Bob Hullender, Jess Claiborne, Peter Dahlberg, Bill Jackson, and Carlton Woods Member Dave Bozeman. Underdog Bozeman was happy to be playing at all, with an ailing back aided by a portable tens unit that was prescribed the night before. With the back issues on his mind he didn’t feel any pressure from the event, and made great pars from difficult places. His 75 led all of the local Seniors.
Practice Rounds Enjoyed
Brisk winds and warm temperatures enhanced course conditions as Mid-Am and Senior participants prepare for the 2010 tournament. The 5th annual Carlton Woods Invitational will begin with Mid-Am's teeing off at 8:00am Tuesday, May 10th. For daily pairings and results please visit the site's Pairings and Results.
Golfweek Points Increased
Golfweek announced an increase of the points awarded to the champions of the tournament. The Senior champion will now be awarded 600 points, an increase from 400 points. The Mid-Amateur champion will now be awarded 400 points, an increase from 300 points. For more information visit Golfweek.
Five National Champions in Field
The field for the 2010 Carlton Woods Invitational is now closed, and it is the strongest field in the history of the event, with 5 USGA National Champions entered.
In the Mid-Am competition, three national champions will be playing. Kevin Marsh, the 2005 USGA Mid-Am Champion will defend his title against a field including Tim Jackson, the 2001 USGA Mid-Am Champion and 2 time Walker Cup Player, and Steve Wilson, the 2008 USGA Mid-Am Champion. Andy Cooper, the 2007 and 2008 Carlton Woods Invitational Champion Andy Cooper will be vying for his third home-club win.
In the Senior Division, defending champion John Pigg will compete against 2006 USGA Senior Amateur Champion Mike Bell, 2005 USGA Senior Amateur Champion Mike Rice, and 2008 Carlton Woods Inviational and two-time Masters competitor John Grace.
Walker Cup Veteran and Two Time US Mid-Amateur Champion Tim Jackson Set to Compete
Two time Walker Cup member, 1994 and 2001 US Mid-Amateur Champion, Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tennessee has accepted the invitation to compete in the 2010 Carlton Woods Invitational Tournament. Additional contestants and their resumes can be seen on the contestants page.
Featured Speaker Charlie Epps
Charlie Epps, PGA golf professional and instructor has agreed to speak at the Invitational's players dinner. With over a 25 year history of being a head golf professional, hosting weekly talk radio shows, developing instruction techniques for the renowned Nicklaus/Flick Golf schools and instructing 2009 Master Champion Angel Cabrera, Charlie will have many useful insights to share with tournament guests.
Champions Set to Defend
2009 Mid-Am Champion, Kevin Marsh, and 2009 Senior Champion, John Pig, have committed to defend their titles in the 2010 Carlton Woods Invitational Tournament.
The 5th Annual Carlton Woods Invitational will be played May 11-13, 2010 on the award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, TX . Practice rounds are scheduled for May 10.
Dates Set for 2010 Carlton Woods Invitational
THE WOODLANDS, TX (December 14, 2009)--The Club at Carlton Woods has announced that the 5th Annual Carlton Woods Invitational will be played May 11-13, 2010 on the award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Practice rounds are scheduled for May 10.
The 2010 Carlton Woods Invitational will be a 54-hole stroke play championship. The field will be comprised of a Mid-Amateur Division and a Senior Division. The field will be cut after 36 holes to the low 50% and ties in each Division. Those players making the cut will compete for the overall championship. The remainder of the field will compete in an 18-hole consolation tournament also on the Nicklaus Course. Competitors should once again expect meticulous care and attention given to course preparation and conditions, and a tough but fair test of golf. Once again in 2010, the Invitational is recognized as one of Golfweek's national designated tournaments where participants are eligible to receive Golfweek points.