Franco grew up in poverty in Paraguay as one of seven children. He and his five brothers, all of whom became golf professionals, started in golf as caddies, learning to play while barefoot. . . Franco began his career on the South American tour, gaining international prominence in the 1993 Dunhill Cup when he defeated Sam Torrance and Paraguay downed Scotland. The next year Franco went to Asia, winning the Philippine Open and leading the 1994 Order of Merit, thereby earning an exemption onto the Japan PGA Tour. Until making it through the PGA Tour's Q-School at the end of 1998 Franco played primarily in Japan, winning five times, including twice in '98. 1999 was his first year on PGA Tour. Played in 22 events with earnings of $1,864,584, finishing 11th on money list. Won the COMPAQ Classic and the Greater Milwaukee Open. Not only was he the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year, he will go down in the history books as the rookie that has won the most money on tour and the first rookie since Tiger Woods to win twice in a season. . .Before 1999, played six times on PGA Tour, best finish T-7 in 1997 NEC World Series of Golf . . Member of 1998 and 2000 Presidents Cup Team . . .Hampered the last couple of years with tendinitis in his left arm and wrist.
Japan PGA Tour
5 - 1994 Gene Sarazen Jun Classic, 1995 Sapporo Tokyo Open, 1996 ANA Open, 1998 Just System KSB Open, Fuji Sankei Classic
4 - 1999 Compaq Classic, Greater Milwaukee Open, 2000 Compaq Classic, U.S. Bank Of Milwaukee
1994 Japan PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 15; in money - 13; top-10 finishes - 4; scoring average - 71.78; money ¥38,089,617 (ranked 27th); winner Gene Sarazen Jun Classic
1995 Japan PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 20; in money - 18; top-10 finishes - 7; scoring average - 70.47 (ranked 7th); money ¥49,460,343 (ranked 24th); winner Sapporo Tokyo Open
1996 Japan PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 21; in money - 20; top-10 finishes - 6; scoring average 70.66 (ranked 10th); money ¥53,287,568 (ranked 13th); winner ANA Open
1997 Japan PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 20; in money - 19; top-10 finishes - 12; scoring average 70.11 (ranked 5th); money ¥56,321,628 (ranked 8th); best finish 2nd, Token Corporation Cup and Dydo Drinco Shizuoka Open.
1998 Japan PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 18; in money - 16; top-10 finishes - 10; scoring average 69.63 ; money ¥92,569,038 (ranked 6th); Winner KSB Open, Fujisankei Classic. Played in 2 events on the PGA Tour in 1998, T-64th in British Open and T-40th in PGA Championship.
1999 PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 22; in money - 15; top-10 finishes - 7; scoring average 70.16 (ranked T17th); money $1,864,584 (ranked 11th); winner, Compaq Classic and Greater Milwaukee Open.
2000 PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 24; in money - 20; top-10 finishes - 6; scoring average 70.86 (ranked 57th); money $1,550,592 (ranked 30th); winner Compaq Classic.
2001 PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 27; rounds played - 87 ; in money -17; top-10 finishes - 0; money $486,665 (ranked 104th); best finish T-14th at the Buick Challenge.
Scoring - 71.45 / (121st); driving distance - 284.5 / (40th); driving accuracy -64.4% / (165th); GIR - 65.6% / (107); putting - 1.777 / (106th); birdie average - 3.75 per rd / (62nd) / total birdies - 326; sand saves - 43.8% / (173rd); scrambling - 52.1% / (190th); all-around rank - 798 / (102nd).
Late rally to jump from 131st to 102nd on money list in final five events. Push aided by top-10s in two of final three events, only top-10s of the season.
2002 PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 31; rounds played - 105 ; in money -22; top-10 finishes - 2; money $652,147 (ranked 102nd); best finish T-10th at the Disney Golf Classic and Buick Challenge.
Scoring - 71.36 / (121st); driving distance - 290.7 / (13th); driving accuracy -65.6% / (141st); GIR - 68.0% / (41st); putting - 1.785 / (138th); birdie average - 3.64 per rd / (91st) / total birdies - 382; sand saves - 48.1% / (122nd); all-around rank - 729 / (83rd).
2003 PGA Tour Summary
Tournaments entered - 30; Rounds Played - 97; in money - 19; top -10 Finishes - 1; money $672,022 Rank (94th); Best finish: T-10th at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson
Scoring - 70.87 / (73rd); Driving Distance - 298.0 / (19th); Driving Accuracy - 59.3% / (175th); GIR - 68.5% / (27th); Putting - 1.800 / (163rd); Birdie Average - 3.60 per rd / (99th) / Total Birdies - 349; Sand Saves - 48.7% / (118th); All-Around Rank - 676 / (74th).
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