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Golf Australia Express : Issue 23
Northern Trust Open February 16-19, 2012 Riviera Country Club, California, USA Purse US$6,600,000 Defending Champ: Aaron Baddeley (AUS) OLD MAN RIVIERA What’s happening on the PGA Tour’this week WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEK MAKING HIS long-awaited return to the PGA Tour this week, Jason Day arrives at Riviera with strong winds in his sails. Two-weeks ago the 24-year-old finished second at the Qatar Masters after firing a scintillating 65 in the final round. His 2011 PGA season was equally superb, managing 10 top 10s and two seconds in majors. But the wannabe future world No.1 went winless last season. An Australian won here last year—perhaps a back-to- back is on the cards, only this time it’ll be world No.7 Day’s week. JASON DAY (AUS) FRED COUPLES (USA) INCREDIBLY, 52-year-old American Fred Couples returns to Riviera Country Club this week to make his 30th Northern Open start. And the sweet-swinging Californian has an impressive history here. He’s won twice, finished second three times and placed inside the top 10 14 times. Last year, in an attempt to become the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history, he held the 36-hole lead before falling off the pace late on Sunday to finish T7. OTG PEEK THE HISTORIC AND admired, this event’s been a regular PGA stop since 1926. Formerly the Los Angeles Open—then Nissan Open—it was renamed the Northern Trust Open in 2008, the year Phil Mickelson claimed his first of two titles. And other big names have won here, too. Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer are three-time winners. Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and ‘Slamming’ Sam Snead pocketed two wins apiece. In 2011, Australia’s Aaron Baddeley banked himself more than US$1 million after shooting 69 in the final round to beat Vijay Singh by two strokes, and securing his third career PGA Tour win. That win took place at Riviera Country Club, one of truly classic courses on the PGA Tour. OTG THE EVENT