Stellar Field Set for Season-Opening MasterCard Championship at Hualalai

Crenshaw, Strange, Trevino and Wadkins Join Stellar Field Set for Season-Opening MasterCard Championship

Update: 21 Jan 08 : Winner: Fred Funk -21 Under Par.

(Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii) — Four of golf’s most talented players- Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino and Lanny Wadkins- have accepted sponsor exemptions and will compete in the season-opening 2008 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai.

The tournament is the first of 29 official Champions Tour events for 2008 and will be held January 14-20 at Hualalai Golf Course in Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. The foursome joins a field of eligible players featuring winners of Champions Tour major championships in the last five years and winners of Champions Tour cosponsored events which awarded official money in the past two years.

Crenshaw will return to the Big Island for this year’s Championship for the third straight year. A World Golf Hall of Fame member since 2002, Crenshaw has 19 PGA TOUR titles under his belt, including the 1984 and 1995 Masters.

Strange, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this past year, will make his second appearance at the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai. The winner of back-to-back U.S. Opens (1988-89) has logged a total of 17 PGA TOUR victories in his career.

Trevino will compete at Hualalai for the 14th year. The three-time Champions Tour player of the year’s best finish at the event was a runner-up in the 2000 Championship with three other players. Trevino has won six majors on the PGA TOUR and four on the Champions Tour, bringing his combined total career victories to an impressive 58. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.

Wadkins, will return to Championship for the fifth time, after recovering from back problems that limited his 2007 season to just five starts. His best finish in Hualalai came in 2002 when he finished T9. The 1977 PGA Championship winner has a total of 21 PGA TOUR victories to his name and one Champions Tour title from his first start at the 2000 ACE Group Classic.

The sponsor invitation category was created in 2002 and allows up to four exemptions to be granted to players who have a minimum of 30 combined PGA TOUR/Champions Tour victories or players with a minimum of 15 career victories who also have a minimum of one major championship victory. The addition of Crenshaw, Strange, Trevino and Wadkins brings the field to a total of 42 players.

Topping the list of eligible players is defending champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Hale Irwin, who earned his eighth victory in the Aloha State with his second win (2007 and 1997) at the event. Irwin has collected an unprecedented 45 Champions {multithumb}

Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer

Tour titles since making his debut back in 1995, and has a total of 20 PGA TOUR career victories including three U.S Opens (1974, 79, 90).

Eight of the 42 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai qualifiers are first-time Champions Tour winners and first-time qualifiers: John Cook, R.W. Eaks, Keith Fergus, Scott Hoch, Bernhard Langer, Lonnie Nielsen, Denis Watson, Mark Wiebe.

The full field for the 2008 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai is as follows:

– Andy Bean
– Brad Bryant
– John Cook
– Ben Crenshaw
– Allen Doyle
– R.W. Eaks
– David Edwards
– Keith Fergus
– Fred Funk
– Bob Gilder
– Jay Haas
– John Harris
– Morris Hatalsky
– Scott Hoch
– Hale Irwin

– John Jacobs
– Peter Jacobsen
– Tom Jenkins
– Tom Kite
– Bernhard Langer
– Bruce Lietzke
– Mark McNulty
– Gil Morgan
– Lonnie Nielsen
– Pete Oakley
– Jerry Pate
– Tom Purtzer
– Dana Quigley
– Mike Reid

– Loren Roberts
– Eduardo Romero
– Scott Simpson
– Craig Stadler
– Curtis Strange
– Jim Thorpe
– Lee Trevino
– Bobby Wadkins
– Lanny Wadkins
– Denis Watson
– Tom Watson
– D.A. Weibring
– Mark Wiebe