2003 Capital Open -- Rain Clouds Fail To Deter The Shining Stars At The 2003 FBR Capital Open

Photos by Jeff Janas; Text and Captions by Jeffrey A. Rendall

POTOMAC, MD - The story at the recently concluded FBR Capital Open, in addition to Rory Sabbatini's first win on American soil and the torrential rain that threatened to wash out the tournament -- was the excellent 'star' power that the event attracted.


Coming one week before arguably the biggest PGA event of the year (the US Open), many were anticipating a field comprised of journeymen PGA players and perhaps a few foreign stars seeking to get acclimated to American time zones prior to moving on to the Chicago area to play in the season's second major championship at Olympia Fields.


Not so.  Perhaps it was the handsome purse, $4.5 million with a winner's share of $810,000 (both figures up dramatically from last year), or maybe it was because certain players thought taking part in a regular tournament format was the best way to prepare for the next week.  Whatever the reason, the Capital Open included the PGA Tour's leading money winner (until Mike Weir passed him at the US Open, to take over the top spot), Davis Love III, and fellow world top-10 players Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington of Ireland.


As if having three world top-10 players wasn't enough, several other 'stars' shone at TPC Avenel, including David Duval (who shot a 9-under par 62 on Friday to move close to the top of the leader board), world 14th ranked Chris DiMarco, Robert Allenby of Australia (ranked 16th), defending champion Bob Estes (ranked 17th), and other notables, such as Ryder Cup Captain Hal Sutton, one of the Tour's hottest young stars, Charles Howell III, and last year's PGA Championship winner Rich Beem.


Also seen were international stars Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Stuart Appleby and Paul Lawrie.


In other words, there was no shortage of 'names' to follow throughout the tournament, even though some of them ended up missing the cut.


And although conditions were certainly soggy (at best), the event was an unqualified success.  Here are some of the 'stars' we saw at the 2003 FBR Capital Open:

Padraig Harrington makes the journey from the 9th green to the 10th tee during Sunday's 3rd round. Fans weren't the only ones having to watch their step in the slippery conditions.

Davis Love III played like a champion at the Capital Open, despite carrying a heavy heart at the recent loss of his brother-in-law. Situations like this one, at the 6th hole on Sunday, probably helped take his mind off the situation -- when his ball came to rest on top of the stone wall bordering the green.

Charles Howell III's bright colored shirt was a stark contrast to the gray skies. As one of the longer hitters on Tour, Howell drew sizeable galleries wherever he went.

The grounds were so wet that even balls in the rough became imbedded. Here, Brandt Jobe tries to determine whether he'll get relief from a horrible lie on the par five 2nd hole.

Duffy Waldorf ended up tying for 2nd after being assessed a two-stroke penalty on the 12th hole on Monday. He'll no doubt remember this year's Capital Open for something other than the weather.

Winner Rory Sabbatini blasts out of a greenside bunker on the par five 6th hole. Though all parts of his game were certainly sharp, his short game around the greens was the difference in his four-stroke victory.

Rich Beem is always a popular draw at the Washington area's PGA Tour event. He earned his first Tour victory here four years ago.


The FBR Capital Open
June 5 - June 9, 2003
TPC Avenel in Potomac, MD


2003 Winner:  Rory Sabbatini, with a score of 270


Purse:  $4.5 million, with winner's share of $810,000.

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