- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

Washington Times golf writer Barker Davis tabs his favorites to walk away with the Kemper crystal at TPC at Avenel this week.

Charles Howell III


Has three key Kemper credentials. TPC at Avenel always plays wet and long, and Howell bombs it off the tee. The same faces always tend to show up on the Kemper's leader board, and Howell finished T14 in his first start at Avenel last year. Finally, the Kemper loves to crown first-time champions, and Howell has been close often (8 top 10s) but has yet to post a victory. If Howell finds his range with the short stick this week, watch out.

Stuart Appleby


1998 Kemper champion has five top-20 finishes in six starts at Avenel. His Avenel scoring average of 69.38 is the second lowest in the field. Forget his poor start this season. And forget Greg Norman. When it comes to Avenel, this Aussie rules.

Justin Leonard


Like Appleby, Leonard owns Avenel, winning the Kemper in 1997 and adding top-5 finishes in 1995 and 2000. After a pair of lean years, his form has returned this season, as evidenced by his victory at Harbour Town last month. Length, or the lack thereof, is still an issue for the 1997 British Open champion.

Greg Chalmers


Laugh if you must, but Chalmers (pronounced Charmers) perfectly fits the Kemper mold. The lefty affectionately known as "Snake" finished second at the 2000 Kemper, his highest finish on Tour to date. He's an Australian, and the Kemper undeniably has a taste for Aussies see former champions Norman (1984, '86) and Appleby. And he's been absolutely abominable this season, a virtual guarantee that he'll play well at Avenel.

Hank Kuehne


Nobody hits it longer than the 1998 U.S. Amateur champion, who has spent the year terrorizing the Canadian Tour. Kuehne leads that circuit's money list. And if he putts as well as he drives this week, he might not have to go north of the border again.

Fred Couples


Sure, it's wishful thinking, but the fates owe the Kemper a sexy champion after the recent three-year run through oblivion better known as Rich Beem, Tom Scherrer and Frank Lickliter. Though it seems like he hasn't made a putt this decade, Couples is still an excellent ball striker. Here's hoping Boom Boom has one more bullet in his clip.

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