With Taylor out, there will be a new champion
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – There will be a new champion crowned at this year’s Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf & Country Club
Vaughn Taylor, the winner of the past two RTO events, won’t be back to defend his title.
Taylor, despite missing the cut at the PGA over the weekend, still qualified for the Ryder Cup team and he’ll be at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He is the leading money winner in RTO history with $1,080,000 to his credit, nearly $300,000 more than Jonathan Kaye, who has won $722,750.
Taylor was looking for a chance to become the first player to win the same tournament three years in a row since Tiger Woods won the Bay Hill Invitational from 2000 to 2003.
Taylor holds or shares five RTO records – first-round 18-hole record (64), 36-hole record (131, 13-under-par), 54-hole record (195, 21-under-par), 72-hole record (267, 21-under-par) and low start for a winner (64). The first-round 64 ties the record of Brian Watts.
FOX ON THE LINKS
Monday was the first of two pro-ams at the RTO, and Nevada basketball coach Mark Fox was in a group that included veteran pro Willie Wood.
“This is the third round of playing my own golf ball in six years,” Fox said between the ninth and 10th hole. “I did go out and hit some golf balls four or five times (recently).
“I hit it decent off the tee. I had more than my share of shanks. I’m not a very good golfer. This tournament is great for our community.”
David Carter, Nevada’s top assistant, served as Fox’s caddy.
“He needed to get out of the office,” joked Fox.
Fox said he’s made no progress in scheduling a season-opening home game before the Pack visits Oregon State on Nov. 15. The third-year head coach said he would probably have a new assistant coach by next week to replace Josh Newman.
Six players have withdrawn from this year’s event – Jon Byrd, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Jimmy Walker, Vance Veazey and Taylor.
Thus far, six alternates have been put in the field. The group includes Wood, Gary Hallberg, Jim McGovern, Blaine McCallister, David Gossett and Mike Hulbert.
Glen Day, Jason Day and Scott Piercy were given exemptions into the tournament.
SLOW PLAY RULES THE DAY
The pro-am was agonizingly slow, prompting some nice comments from the professionals in the five-person group.
Things were going so slow, J.P. Hayes had a short conversation with Appeal photographer Chad Lundquist when he came to the ninth green.
The best comment of the day came from Chris Smith, who bemoaned the fact that it had taken four hours to play 12 holes.
“Things were real good for the first four holes,” Smith said. “Then we reached our time limit.”
MAKING THE CUT
Three players – Duffy Waldorf, Brian Gay and Hayes – have never missed a cut in the seven-year history of the event.
Waldorf has two top-10 finishes en route to winning $367,968. Gay also has two top-10 finishes for $292,943 and Hayes has three top-10s and has won $374,214.