Kris Ventura makes PGA Tour debut, shares classic photo with Tiger Woods

screen_shot_2018-06-30_at_12.57.57_pm.png
USA TODAY Sports

Kris Ventura makes PGA Tour debut, shares classic photo with Tiger Woods

23-year-old Mexican-born Kristoffer Ventura first picked up the game of golf after receiving a plastic set of clubs for Christmas at the age of two. 

Four years later his mother took him to his first U.S. Kids Golf tournament in Virginia. Ventura's first-place finish took his commitment to the game to a whole new level. 

The Ventura family picked up and left for Norway in what would become an important move for Kris's golf game. 

Ventura quickly became one of the best young golfers in the country, representing the European side at the 2010 Junior Ryder Cup, finishing second at the 2012 European Nations Cup and representing Norway twice at the World Amateur Team Championships (2012 and 2014). 

Before Charlotte and Carlos (Kris's parents) knew it, coaches from some of the best U.S. college golf programs were traveling overseas to recruit their son. 

After initially committing to Arizona State, Ventura had a change of heart and instead spent four years at Oklahoma State University. 

Ventura enjoyed a successful career as a Cowboy both on the golf course and in the classroom, earning first-team All-Big 12 recognition all four years while earning third-team All-American honors as a sophomore. He also was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 pick as a junior and second-team All-Big 12 pick this past May as a senior. 

Among his wide array of accomplishments, there's one thing missing: a championship. That was what he and his OSU teammates set out to accomplish during the 2018 season. 

On May 30, the team celebrated a 2018 Division I men's golf national championship on its home course, dominating Alabama in finals match play at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

One former Cowboy showed up to support his former team and his friendship with Ventura dates back to 2014, at least. 

For Ventura, an NCAA championship title wasn't the only thing on his list. 

From a very young age, he had his sights set on reaching the PGA Tour. 

His dream came true on Thursday during the first round of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac. 

In an Instagram post last week, Ventura thanked the Tiger Woods Foundation for the opportunity and shared a photo from his childhood that has since circled all throughout golf social media: 

Although Ventura failed to make it to the weekend with rounds of 73 and 70, don't be surprised if you're seeing the young talent on future leaderboards sooner rather than later. 

2018 Quicken Loans National: Expert picks, predictions, analysis, sleepers

tiger_woods_swing.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

2018 Quicken Loans National: Expert picks, predictions, analysis, sleepers

The Quicken Loans National golf tournament returns to the nation's capital for the final time before moving to Detroit in 2019.

With Tiger Woods returning to TPC Potomac at Avenal  Farms in 2018, the anticipation is at an all-time high. Will Woods hoist the championship trophy for the first time since 2012 or will defending champion Kyle Stanley go back-to-back?

We asked out expert team of fantasy golf wizards to drop their analysis, predictions and picks for the 2018 National.

The panel of golf experts offering their predictions, picks and analysis are:
Chris Garosi, The Fantasy Fix
Geoff Feinberg, Fantasy Golf Expert
Garrett Johnston, NBC Sports Washington
Kenny Kim, Fantasy Golf Degenerates Podcast
Troy Machir, NBC Sports Washington
Doug McKinney, NBC Sports Washington/Sports Junkies
Matt "Valdez" Myers, 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies

Quickens National Picks to Win

Doug McKinney: Jimmy Walker
I’m going with someone who doesn’t get too high or too low; a perfect description of Jimmy Walker.  Listen, last year TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm played as the fourth toughest track on the PGA Tour.  The rough is stuff you would see at a U.S. Open course; in fact, Justin Thomas said last year “you could 100 percent host a U.S. Open here starting tomorrow.” 

Walker will stay on the fairways, is in good recent form and is definitely considered one of the fan favorites in this field.  Sure, the 2016 PGA Championship winner missed the cut here last season, but he wasn’t playing consistently.  I’m backing Jimmy Walker.

Geoff Fienberg: Francesco Molinari
In the best form of his career going to a course that suits his iron game. Recently won BMW over in Europe on a very tight course (Wentworth) with many comps. 

Kenny Kim: Francesco Molinari
This course seems well suited for Molinari’s game. He hits a lot of fairways, hits a lot of greens, and for the most part avoids the big number. He’s coming in hot with a win, a runner-up, and a solid 25th place finish at the US Open in his last three starts. I think him skipping the huge Euro Tour French Open speaks volumes about how he thinks he can do at this specific course. I don’t think he skips the French Open for the Quicken Loans unless he thinks TPC Potomac is a course well suited for him to possibly get his first PGA Tour win. 

Chris Garosi: Kevin Streelman
It’s tough to pass on Rickie Fowler at this tournament, but he just doesn’t seem to win as frequently as we think he should. I’m actually going to ignore most of the top of the board as I don’t see a lot of value. 

The pick for me this week is Kevin Streelman. I was on him last week and it looks like I might have been a week too early. He’s always played well at this even irrespective of the venue including his T17 last year.  He’s third in bogey avoidance this year (which will be key on a tough course) and is trending in the right direction. 

Matt Valdez: Tiger Woods 
I've had the luxury of playing TPC Avenel over 20 times.  It's an amazing course.  Fair but tough.  You are penalized for poor shots and if the rough is thick, you're playing for par if you're wayward off the tee.  

Why not?  His own tournament, weaker field. The course emphasizes strokes gained tee to green and surprisingly ranks 5th on tour.  Believe it or not, it's been Tiger's putter that has failed him.  Hoping the new TaylorMade mallet makes a difference and every weekend duffer will be racing to Golfdom to buy one. RIP Newport 2 :( 

Garrett Johnston: Tiger Woods
This guy threatened the course record last month at the straight and narrow TPC Sawgrass, he nearly won at another tough track at Tampa before that. This week against a non-strong field at another accuracy-first venue, it’s his to lose.

Troy Machir: Tiger Woods
It has to be Tiger, it just has to. With the tournament heading elsewhere after 2018, what better sendoff than having the tournament's host complete the hat trick with a victory?

Quicken Loans National Sleeper Picks

Doug McKinney: Chesson Hadley
I know he is coming off back-to-back missed cuts, but Hadley is going to be in one of the final groups come Sunday.  The 2014 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year has six Top 20’s since the final event in March and has course history here.  Playing on the Web.com Tour, Hadley placed second here in 2013.  I like his fit here so much; I contemplated having him as my pick to win this week.

Geoff Fienberg: Si Woo Kim 
The course also suits his game, the form is strong. Kyle Stanley won with negatives strokes gained-putting last year so that makes it easier to go to the well with Si Woo. (Call this a cheat but I was very tempted to pick Woodland here also)

Kenny Kim: Kevin Streelman
Streelman is having one of the best ball striking seasons of his career. In his last 50 rounds he’s 1st in the field in Good Drive % (combo of Driving Accuracy and greens in regulation from the rough), 4th in Fairways Gained, 8th in Green in Regulation, 9th in Strokes Gained: Approach, and 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He’s also inside the Top 15 in the field in Bogey Avoidance and Double Bogey Avoidance in the last 50 rounds. He came in 17th here last year and I think he can do better this week.

Chris Garosi: Jason Gore
If it’s DC, the sleeper is always Jason Gore. He’s had serious success on this track (for him) over the years in the different tournaments held at TPC Potomac. 

Matt Valdez: Denny McCarthy 
Made 3 cuts in a row and coming back to his home course.  Really impressed with Denny's third round 66 and can’t neglect his comfort and familiarity with TPC Avenel.

Garrett Johnston: Beau Hossler
He’s been trending all season, nearly grabbed his first Tour win in Houston and just finished second last week at Travelers.

Troy Machir: Kevin Streelman
Streelman is making spectacular contact on the ball this season and has been hovering around Top 15 week in and week out. 

Quicken Loans National Longshot Picks

Doug McKinney: Denny McCarthy
The local native – along with Billy Hurley III – should get plenty of fanfare in the galleries the next four days.  The UVA product, ranks 42nd on Tour in bogey avoidance, a key attribute that will come handy playing at this type of venue.  Happy Homecoming, Denny. 

Geoff Fienberg: James Hahn 
An incredibly streaky player who can pop out of nowhere but to my surprise this difficult track could see him pop a T20 if he’s not flirting w first page of the leaderboard.

Kenny Kim: Denny McCarthy
McCarthy is a local kid that was raised in the DMV area. He won the Maryland Open three times and played with some of the biggest names in golf (Spieth, Thomas, Schniederjans) at the 2010 Junior Ryder Cup. He’s coming in with the best form of his PGA Tour career making six of his last seven cuts including three Top 20s. He’ll have a lot of support this week and has the game to surprise people.

Chris Garosi: Robert Garrigus 
Just seems to show up for certain tournaments and this is one of them as he’s made 10 of his last 11 cuts at the Quicken with four top 20s. He’s made just 7 of 15 cuts in 2018, but his seven weekends have led to four top 25 finishes. TPC Potomac seems to have a link (perhaps tenuous) to Torrey Pines where Garrigus had his best finish of 2018 (T8). 

Matt Valdez: Stewart Cink 
Hasn't played the course worries me.  He's so hot right now it's hard to ignore.  T4 at St. Jude and T2 in Connecticut makes you ride the hot streak. 

Garrett Johnston: Ricky Werenski
Coming off of good experience in a top 10 at Memphis and played in the US Open the week after, he’s got Keegan Bradley’s old caddie Steve Hale to keep him focused as well.

Troy Machir: Stewart Cink:
A strong finish (3rd) at The Travelers Championship has Cink primed for a big weekend at TPC Potomac. The reason he's a longshot is that this will be the first time he's played the course.

Quicken Loans National Fade Picks

Doug McKinney: Ryan Armour
Going a bit against the grain here because Armour is playing really well right now.  Currently ranked at 58 in the FedExCup Standings, Armour has made four straight cuts including placing inside the Top 25 twice.  He’s also missed the cut at this course, twice. 

Geoff Fienberg: Kevin Na
This could backfire but Na was in Korea last week playing on the Asian Tour, with many of the players with any kind of name value rested after the US Open Na could be a little weathered. 

Kenny Kim: Kevin Na
At first glance, it looks like TPC Potomac is well suited for Na’s game but he played the Korean Open last week. The time difference between Korea and DC is 13 hours. Jet lag could be a big factor for him. As a fellow Korean I have traveled to Korea and back and it took more than a week to get my internal clock back to normal. Jet lag affects people in different ways but with all the other great players near his price range, I’ll take the risk and fade him.

Chris Garosi: Joaquin Niemann
Is going to be a stud. But he’s still just 19 years old and in this field, I won’t pay up for a higher variance player on a tough course. 

Matt Valdez Fade: Marc Leishman 
Will be a popular DK and golf pool pick.  Been outside Top 40 last three tournaments.  Paired with Tiger the first two days and not sure if Marc is good enough to deal with the circus Woods brings.

Garrett Johnston: Rickie Fowler
We’ve seen him start well in DMV area events, including a deep run last year here, but figuring past history will repeat with a fade.

Troy Machir: Rickie Fowler
The fan-favorite had a strong finish in 2017, and his style is great for the course, but I just have a bad feeling about Rickie this weekend. It's nothing more than a hunch, tho. 
 

2018 Quicken Loans National: Tee Times, Field, Picks, Odds, Location, Parking Information

2018 Quicken Loans National: Tee Times, Field, Picks, Odds, Location, Parking Information

Tiger Woods is back.

He'll make his first start in the DMV since 2015 with this week's Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, which is hosting for the second consecutive year.

This year's field includes two-time champ Woods, World Number 8 Rickie Fowler, 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker, and some local players including 2016 champ Billy Hurley III and Tour rookie Denny McCarthy. Other past winners playing this week are Nick Watney (2011), Bill Haas (2013), Troy Merritt (2015), and defending champion Kyle Stanley (2017).

The PGA Tour's season is winding down as this week marks the 36th of 45 regular season events before the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin in August.

What does that mean for this week? Many of the players you will see in this field are trying to stay in or get to the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings by the end of the reular season (August's Wyndham Championship). This guarantees them full-time PGA Tour playing privileges for next season. Players who finish outside this number get only limited playing privileges on the Tour, so there is much at stake. Last year, Stanley went from 38th in the standings to 14th with the win, while Johnson Wagner finished tied for 5th and moved from 140th to 121st.

There are also a few spots available this week to the top four highest finishers who are not already qualified for the British Open, the season's third of four major championships which takes place in Carnoustie, Scotland next month.

Back to home, the QL National is the closest tournament on the PGA Tour for residents of the DMV area to attend. It's also hosted by Tiger Woods and it benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Last year Kyle Stanley beat Charles Howell III in a playoff for his second career PGA Tour win.

2018 Quicken Loans National Information:

What: The 12th Quicken Loans National golf tournament
When: Thursday, June 28- Sunday, July 1, 2018
Where: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm
TV Channel: Golf Channel, CBS Sports
Livestream: TBA

2018 Quicken Loads National Pairings: Thursday, June 28

THURSDAY: Off No. 1 tee
7:20 a.m.: Kevin Tway, Dominic Bozzelli, Tyler Duncan
7:32 a.m.: David Hearn, Trey Mullinax, Martin Piller
7:44 a.m.: Sung Kang, Cameron Percy, Corey Conners
7:56 a.m.: Brian Stuard, David Lingmerth, Kevin Na
8:08 a.m.: Chris Stroud, Peter Malnati, Charles Howell III
8:20 a.m.: Ryan Armour, Si Woo Kim, Brian Gay
8:32 a.m.: Ricky Barnes, Tom Hoge, Abraham Ancer
8:44 a.m.: J.J. Henry, Rory Sabbatini, Anirban Lahiri
8:56 a.m.: Martin Laird, Tim Herron, Patrick Rodgers
9:08 a.m.: Bronson Burgoon, Denny McCarthy, Lanto Griffin
12:20 p.m.: Kevin Streelman, C.T. Pan, Michael Kim
12:32 p.m.: Jamie Lovemark, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Blayne Barber
12:44 p.m.: Johnson Wagner, Ryan Palmer, Joaquin Niemann
12:56 p.m.: Ted Potter, Jr., Aaron Baddeley, James Hahn
1:08 p.m.: Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Chesson Hadley
1:20 p.m.: Marc Leishman, Bill Haas, Tiger Woods
1:32 p.m.: Troy Merritt, Harris English, J.J. Spaun
1:44 p.m.: Scott Brown, Jason Kokrak, Kelly Kraft
1:56 p.m.: Rob Oppenheim, Nicholas Lindheim, Doug Ghim
2:08 p.m.: Jonathan Randolph, Ben Silverman, Xinjun Zhang

THURSDAY: Off No. 10 tee
7:20 a.m.: Alex Cejka, Whee Kim, Brandon Harkins
7:32 a.m.: Robert Streb, Derek Fathauer, J.T. Poston
7:44 a.m.: Ben Crane, Chad Campbell, Shawn Stefani
7:56 a.m.: Andrew Landry, Rod Pampling, Francesco Molinari
8:08 a.m.: Kyle Stanley, Billy Hurley III, Nick Watney
8:20 a.m.: Billy Horschel, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink
8:32 a.m.: Scott Stallings, Robert Garrigus, Sam Saunders
8:44 a.m.: J.B. Holmes, Ollie Schniederjans, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
8:56 a.m.: Sam Ryder, Adam Schenk, Doc Redman
9:08 a.m.: Roberto Díaz, Andrew Yun, Dylan Meyer
12:20 p.m.: Geoff Ogilvy, Byeong Hun An, Andrew Putnam
12:32 p.m.: Nick Taylor, Beau Hossler, Richy Werenski
12:44 p.m.: John Huh, Daniel Summerhays, Harold Varner III
12:56 p.m.: Jonas Blixt, Adam Hadwin, Cody Gribble
1:08 p.m.: D.A. Points, Fabián Gómez, Matt Every
1:20 p.m.: Danny Lee, Keith Mitchell, Seamus Power
1:32 p.m.: Matt Jones, Jason Gore, Martin Flores
1:44 p.m.: Michael Thompson, Zac Blair, Ryan Blaum
1:56 p.m.: Joel Dahmen, Ethan Tracy, Stephan Jaeger
2:08 p.m.: Talor Gooch, Tom Lovelady, Kristoffer Ventura

2018 Quicken Loads National Pairings: Friday, June 29 

FRIDAY: Off No. 1 tee

7:20 a.m.: Geoff Ogilvy, Byeong Hun An, Andrew Putnam
7:32 a.m.: Nick Taylor, Beau Hossler, Richy Werenski
7:44 a.m.: John Huh, Daniel Summerhays, Harold Varner III
7:56 a.m.: Jonas Blixt, Adam Hadwin, Cody Gribble
8:08 a.m.: D.A. Points, Fabián Gómez, Matt Every
8:20 a.m.: Danny Lee, Keith Mitchell, Seamus Power
8:32 a.m.: Matt Jones, Jason Gore, Martin Flores
8:44 a.m.: Michael Thompson, Zac Blair, Ryan Blaum
8:56 a.m.: Joel Dahmen, Ethan Tracy, Stephan Jaeger
9:08 a.m.: Talor Gooch, Tom Lovelady, Kristoffer Ventura
12:20 p.m.: Alex Cejka, Whee Kim, Brandon Harkins
12:32 p.m.: Robert Streb, Derek Fathauer, J.T. Poston
12:44 p.m.: Ben Crane, Chad Campbell, Shawn Stefani
12:56 p.m.: Andrew Landry, Rod Pampling, Francesco Molinari
1:08 p.m.: Kyle Stanley, Billy Hurley III, Nick Watney
1:20 p.m.: Billy Horschel, Jimmy Walker, Stewart Cink
1:32 p.m.: Scott Stallings, Robert Garrigus, Sam Saunders
1:44 p.m.: J.B. Holmes, Ollie Schniederjans, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
1:56 p.m.: Sam Ryder, Adam Schenk, Doc Redman
2:08 p.m.: Roberto Díaz, Andrew Yun, Dylan Meyer

FRIDAY: Off No. 10 tee

7:20 a.m.: Kevin Streelman, C.T. Pan, Michael Kim
7:32 a.m.: Jamie Lovemark, Tyrone Van Aswegen, Blayne Barber
7:44 a.m.: Johnson Wagner, Ryan Palmer, Joaquin Niemann
7:56 a.m.: Ted Potter, Jr., Aaron Baddeley, James Hahn
8:08 a.m.: Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Chesson Hadley
8:20 a.m.: Marc Leishman, Bill Haas, Tiger Woods
8:32 a.m.: Troy Merritt, Harris English, J.J. Spaun
8:44 a.m.: Scott Brown, Jason Kokrak, Kelly Kraft
8:56 a.m.: Rob Oppenheim, Nicholas Lindheim, Doug Ghim
9:08 a.m.: Jonathan Randolph, Ben Silverman, Xinjun Zhang
12:20 p.m.: Kevin Tway, Dominic Bozzelli, Tyler Duncan
12:32 p.m.: David Hearn, Trey Mullinax, Martin Piller
12:44 p.m.: Sung Kang, Cameron Percy, Corey Conners
12:56 p.m.: Brian Stuard, David Lingmerth, Kevin Na
1:08 p.m.: Chris Stroud, Peter Malnati, Charles Howell III
1:20 p.m.: Ryan Armour, Si Woo Kim, Brian Gay
1:32 p.m.: Ricky Barnes, Tom Hoge, Abraham Ancer
1:44 p.m.: J.J. Henry, Rory Sabbatini, Anirban Lahiri
1:56 p.m.: Martin Laird, Tim Herron, Patrick Rodgers
2:08 p.m.: Bronson Burgoon, Denny McCarthy, Lanto Griffin

 

2018 Quicken Loans National Odds, Betting Information:

DraftKings and FanDuel have tournaments open for the Quicken Loans National, as does GolfChannel.com's Fantasy Golf game.

Rickie Fowler just barely clipped Tiger Woods as the betting favorite, with 13-2 odds.

Tiger Woods, who is in the midst of a relatively strong season though still looking for a win, has 12-1 odds of winning. And lastly, you have Marc Leishman, who tied for 5th here last year at 18-1 and defending champ Kyle Stanley at 20-1. Stanley made it to a three-man playoff after holding the 54-hole lead earlier this month at The Memorial.

2018 Quicken Loans National Betting Favorites

Rickie Fowler: 13-2
Tiger Woods: 12-1
Marc Leishman 18-1
Kyle Stanley 20-1
Francesco Molinari 20-1
Beau Hossler 28-1
Charles Howell III 28-1
JB Holmes 28-1
Kevin Na 33-1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 33-1

2018 Quicken Loans National Parking & Ticket Information

Parking: Rock Springs Parking Lot, 6720 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 2081

General Grounds Pricing:

  • $20: Pro-Am Ticket (Wednesday)
  • $39: Competition Round Ticket (Thursday-Sunday)
  • Kids 15 and under: Free with a ticketed adult (Tickets can be redeemed at the box office.)

Tickets: Full pricing options and purchase

NBC Sports Washington's Live Coverage

NBC Sports Washington will have live coverage from the Quicken Loans National at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday with "Live at the Quicken Loans National," hosted by Rob Carlin.

2018 Quicken Loans National Field: 

The field for the 2018 Quicken Loans National features 120 golfers.

Byeong Hun An
Abraham Ancer
Kiradech Aphibarnrat*
Ryan Armour
Aaron Baddeley
Blayne Barber
Zac Blair
Ryan Blaum
Jonas Blixt
Dominic Bozzelli
Scott Brown
Bronson Burgoon
Chad Campbell
Alex Cejka
Stewart Cink
Corey Conners
Ben Crane
Joel Dahmen
Tyler Duncan
Harris English
Matt Every
Derek Fathauer
Martin Flores
Rickie Fowler
Robert Garrigus
Brian Gay
Doug Ghim*
Fabián Gómez
Talor Gooch
Jason Gore*
Cody Gribble
Lanto Griffin*
Bill Haas
Chesson Hadley
Adam Hadwin
James Hahn
Brandon Harkins
David Hearn
J.J. Henry
Tom Hoge
J.B. Holmes
Billy Horschel
Beau Hossler
Charles Howell III
Mackenzie Hughes
John Huh
Billy Hurley III
Stephan Jaeger
Matt Jones
Sung Kang
Michael Kim
Si Woo Kim
Whee Kim
Jason Kokrak
Kelly Kraft
Anirban Lahiri
Martin Laird
Andrew Landry
Nate Lashley
Danny Lee
Marc Leishman
Nicholas Lindheim
David Lingmerth
Tom Lovelady
Jamie Lovemark
Hunter Mahan
Peter Malnati
Ben Martin
Denny McCarthy
Troy Merritt
Dylan Meyer*
Keith Mitchell
Francesco Molinari
Trey Mullinax
Kevin Na
Joaquin Niemann*
Geoff Ogilvy
Rob Oppenheim
Ryan Palmer
Rod Pampling
C.T. Pan
Cameron Percy
Martin Piller
D.A. Points
J.T. Poston
Ted Potter, Jr.
Seamus Power
Andrew Putnam
Jonathan Randolph
Doc Redman
Patrick Rodgers
Sam Ryder
Rory Sabbatini
Sam Saunders
Adam Schenk
Ollie Schniederjans
Ben Silverman
J.J. Spaun
Scott Stallings
Kyle Stanley
Shawn Stefani
Robert Streb
Kevin Streelman
Chris Stroud
Brian Stuard
Nick Taylor
Michael Thompson
Ethan Tracy
Kevin Tway
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Harold Varner III
Kristoffer Ventura*
Johnson Wagner
Jimmy Walker
Nick Watney
Richy Werenski
Gary Woodland
Tiger Woods
Andrew Yun*
Xinjun Zhang

*Denotes Exemption