MEC Names Players for Hualālai
The field is set for next week’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai Golf Course that runs from Jan. 17 through 19, 2019. This year’s field features 42 of the best PGA TOUR Champions players including defending Charles Schwab Cup champion, Bernhard Langer, and eight of his fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members: Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh and Tom Watson.
The annual event, which returns to the Big Island for the 23rd consecutive year, includes tournament champions from the 2017 and 2018 seasons, winners of PGA TOUR Champions majors since 2014, eight additional invitees based on career PGA TOUR wins and major championship titles, and World Golf Hall of Fame members who played a minimum of eight PGA TOUR Champions events in 2018.
“Each year, excitement builds as we watch our field populate with legends of the game who have competed at Hualālai countless times, along with fresh faces earning their first qualification to the event,” said Tournament Director Kelly Fliear. “We look forward to greeting each of our 42 players next week with the Aloha spirit, and to kicking off what will undoubtedly be another historic year on PGA TOUR Champions.”
In addition to the nine World Golf Hall of Fame members in the field are six players who have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai since the event moved to Hualālai Golf Course in 1997: Irwin (2007, 1997), Kite (2002), Loren Roberts (2006), Watson (2010), Bernhard Langer (2017, 2014, 2009) and Miguel Ángel Jiménez (2015)
At the conclusion of the 2018 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai, nail-biting competition unfolded as Jerry Kelly and Montgomerie battled to capture the first win of the season. It came down to the 18th hole where Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt, while Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par. The World Golf Hall of Famer’s mistake allowed Kelly to erase his one-shot deficit and claim his first victory of the year and third of his career. The win came just three days after being named PGA TOUR Champions 2017 Rookie of the Year.
This year’s field includes five players making their debuts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai. New faces include Bart Bryant, Steve Flesch, Scott Parel, Ken Tanigawa and Steve Stricker. Stricker, who first began competing on PGA TOUR Champions in 2017, experienced noteworthy success in the 2018 season earning his way into Hualalai’s elite field with three victories. The Wisconsin native finished in the top-five at each of his seven events, including wins at the Cologuard Classic, Rapiscan Systems Classic and Sanford International. Stricker is currently competing at the Sony Open in Hawai‘i before traveling to the Big Island.
Amongst the tournament winners, World Golf Hall of Fame members and newcomers, another category stands out in the field. This year, eight Charles Schwab Cup champions have qualified for the event. The list includes Irwin (2002, ’04), Watson (2003, ’05), Jay Haas (2006, ’08), Roberts (2007, ’09), Langer (2010, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’18), Kenny Perry (2013), Tom Lehman (2011, ’12) and Kevin Sutherland (2017). The only Schwab Cup winner who did not qualify for the event is Allen Doyle, who no longer competes regularly on Tour. Doyle won the inaugural Cup in 2001 and his last time competing at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship was in 2011.
Another standout player to watch this year is World Golf Hall of Fame member Singh. Singh won three times in the 2018 season, including his first senior major title at the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. In November, the Fiji native carded a 10-under 61 to erase a six-shot deficit and win the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship by four with a 22-under total. His 61 on Sunday tied the course record and was the lowest final round of Singh’s career. A 34-time winner on the PGA TOUR and the 2008 FedExCup champion, Singh is now the third player to win both the TOUR Championship and Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Singh is teeing it up this week at the Sony Open alongside Stricker, Perry and Kelly.
The full field of players committed to the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualālai is listed below:
Miguel Ángel Jiménez
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