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Brooks Leaves Mark Of Longevity

— A golf course historian, Mark Brooks has no trouble recalling the various incarnations of TPC River Highlands.

He's quick to bring up the changes made in 1990, which involved the construction of what are now holes 10 through 14, and he still debates whether or not the course plays easier with the 10th as a par 4 than it did as a par 5.

And when it comes to golf history, Brooks is aware of where he stands, though sorting through the facts takes some time. A 27-year member of the PGA Tour, Brooks considers winning on the course in 1988 as the true beginning of his career, but until he shot a 1-under-par 69 to finish 1 under Sunday, he had no idea he and Brad Faxon now own the tournament record with 26 appearances.

"I'm close at a couple other tournaments as far as how many I've played," Brooks said. "One thing you have to remember is that the tournaments haven't lasted. A couple of them I won aren't even around [now]. The Colonial, I've played 27, so maybe the magic number is 30. But I don't know if I'll make that here or not."

Brooks — who has missed playing at TPC River Highlands only in 2005, when he was limited by a back injury — was able to play the Travelers Championship this weekend due to a sponsor's exemption. This was only the second time in nine tournaments this year he's made the cut.

Whether that streak continues next year is uncertain, Brooks said, though he'd like to return. He'll turn 50 in March and plans to play a full schedule on the Champions Tour in his first year eligible, though fitting in a few other PGA Tour events is possible.

His goal is to play in 800 career tour events. Sunday's final round marked the completion of No. 780, and wouldn't it be something, he said, if the 800th was this tournament?

"There's a lot of reasons," Brooks said. "Not just the golf course — it's the people, time of year, and again, because this is such a big, important part of my career, I don't want to miss it."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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