The Tournament Players Championship opened at the TPC Stadium Course this year for the first time. A creation of Pete Dye it opened the eyes of the golfing public where golf club features were mixed in with gallery features to make it enjoyable for all. The Tourney itself began back in 1974 at the Atlanta Country Club to which Jack Nicklaus won the first tournament. The Golden Bear picked up two more wins in the infancy of this tournament. The Colonial C. C. in Fort Worth was the next site in 1975. Inverrary in Florida in 1976 soon followed with the tourney finally settling down in Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977 at the Sawgrass Country Club Then across the road the Pete Dye creation across the road literally. Ray Floyd was the defending champion but the new course was going to challenge all.
Jack Nicklaus put his seal of approval on the stadium course early with a leading 66 in the first day of action. His round (32-34=66) featured six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the 2nd hole. The three time winner was all smiles as the benign test with little wind proved awesome to him. A note here about the second hole. There were 10 eagles scored on the first day alone and a 39 foot eagle putt by Jack Nicklaus stood alone. Jay Haas, David Graham, Australia, and Jack Renner all threw there hats in the ring with 66′s Jay Haas was most impressive (33-33=66) going bogey free with six birdies. Jack Renner just missed the bogey free status scoring a bogey on 13 ((34-32=66). Seven birdies more than paved the way for a great round. David Graham shot a balanced 66 going (33-33=66) with just 3 birdies on the front the excitement was left for the back scoring a bogey on 10, two birdies and an eagle on 16. In second Ray Floyd, last years winner lurked (35-32=67) one stroke back. He was joined by five more golfers lead by Tim Norris (31-36=67) as he charged from the front with 5 birdies. Hubie Green and Denis Watson, Zimbabwe both had (33-34=67) both had second place finishes along with Seve Ballesteros. Tow strokes back and in third were Fuzzy Zoeller (32-36=68) Curtis Strange, leading money winner with (31-37=68) which he managed to lead through the first 9 holes. The young Jodie Mudd , just 21 from Louisville Kentucky (34-34=68) to round out the top three. Gibby Gilbert aced the island hole on the 1 st day in the first group with Jeff Mitchell and Raymond Floyd looking on. The red pins were great for a lot of golfers this day.
Jack Renner rested the lead away from Jack Nicklaus who finished in 4th (36-38=74) on the 4th hole and although tied with several it came down to the youngster, Jodie Mudd (34-36=70) for two holes when on the 7th Jack Renner took control of the tourney (35-34=69). Leading by 3 strokes over Jodie Mudd the alum from Georgia Southern University. Nick Faldo shot 66 (31-35) to move ahead of 38 golfers to weigh in at 6 under in second. Bruce Devlin lead the contenders at 3 rd place at 5 under rallying on the back side (37-33=70). David Graham slipped to third from 1st with a (36-37=73). Bill Rogers advanced with a (34-38=72) to round out the threesome in third. The cut was +3. The White pin placement seemed to favor a few but punish the field. Course conditions were the same.
Jack Renner (37-33=70) continued to lead the field but giving up a stroke to a couple of hard chargers. Doug Tewell (35-29=64) opened a lot of eyes with his 10 birdie performance at nine under joined with DA Weibring (34-31=65) who moved through the field 24,and 23 spots respectively. DA Weibring in third at 8 under with Nick Faldo (37-33=70) and Bruce Lietzke (35-32=67) bogey free round. It , however was all Jack Renner as he moved from 8 under at the beginning of the action to 11 under par.
Jack Renner had no spark left for the final round (36-36=72) as he gave away the lead to Doug Tewell on the 6 th hole His round of (33-34=67) with six birdies and a bogey led him to a 14 under par score of 274. Jack Nicklaus with visions of his 4 th title at the tourney fashioned one of his charges scoring 5 birdies on the front nine (31-37=70) but the back side was his undoing going flat with going bogey, birdie, par and bogeying the 18th over the last four holes.
So, congratulations goes to Doug Tewell his third tourney victory. The seven year PGA pro led a spirited charge through the field as the former Oklahoma State University alum born in Baton Rouge, some 32 years ago gave his career a big jump start.
|Scoreboard||Movement||Tdy Rd||Under Par|
|274- Doug Tewell||+1||-5||76||67||64||67||-14|
|277- Jack Renner||-1||E||66||69||70||72||-11|
|278- Jack Nicklaus||+4||-4||66||74||70||69||-10|
|279- Raymond Floyd||+3||-3||67||73||70||69||-9|
|280- D.A. Weibring||-2||E||70||73||65||72||-8|
|281- Craig Stadler||+15||-5||71||74||69||67||-7|
|281- Bruce Lietzke||-3||+1||70||71||67||73||-7|
|283- Bill Rogers||+4||-1||67||72||73||71||-5|
|283- David Graham||+4||-1||66||73||73||71||-5|
|283- Nick Faldo||-5||+3||72||66||70||75||-5|