Russ Cochran outlasted Jay Don Blake for his fourth career victory on the Champions Tour, winning last week’s Principal Charity Classic at Wakonda Club in Des Moines, Iowa. After his victory, Cochran announced he was donating five special-needs bicycles to Variety – The Children’s Charity from his winnings. Each of the bikes cost up to $3,000.
Defending champion Jay Haas finished T7 in his bid to win a fourth Principal Charity Classic title. It marked the first time Haas recorded a top-10 finish in Des Moines and didn’t win the tournament.
Doug Garwood, who has made 95 starts on the Web.com Tour, turned 50 on March 31st this year and open qualified for The Principal Charity Classic, where he finished T7 and earned $45,281.
Kohki Idoki is the Champions Tour Player of the Month for May. Although Esteban Toledo earned his first Champions Tour victory at last month’s Insperity Championship, Kohki Idoki followed with a win at the season’s first major, the Senior PGA Championship, on his first visit to the United States from his native Japan. It was Idoki’s first start on the Champions Tour and the victory earned him 756 points and vaulted to No. 2 on the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Fred Couples finished T50 at the Memorial Tournament on the PGA TOUR last week. The Champions Tour fan favorite will return to Muirfield Village later this year to captain the U.S. Presidents Cup team. Nick Price is the International team captain.
Tournament officials announced that Pittsburgh-based Heinz will sponsor two military initiatives at the 2013 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship later this month. Military members will receive complimentary tournament admission all week, as well as access to the Heinz Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost Thursday-Sunday, all courtesy of Heinz.
The 25th annual Regions Tradition will be the second of five major championships on the 2013 Champions Tour season, with a history dating to 1989 when Don Bies won the first Tradition at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz. After 14 years in the Grand Canyon state, the Tradition relocated to Oregon for the next eight years before finding a home at Shoal Creek in 2011. Some of the biggest names in golf, including World Golf Hall of Fame members Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite and Tom Watson, are past Tradition champions.
The Champions Tour has a long history in the Birmingham area, having staged an event in the area since 1992. This will mark the 22nd year the Champions Tour has competed in the area.
On Tuesday of tournament week, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Honorary Chair of the Regions Tradition, and two-time defending champion Tom Lehman, along with executives from Regions Financial and Children’s of Alabama, will tour the new Russell Building and visit patients at the facility. Children’s of Alabama is the primary charitable beneficiary of the Regions Tradition.
Tom Lehman will be looking to etch his name in the Champions Tour record book as he seeks his third consecutive win at the Regions Tradition. Should he prevail, he’d be just the second player to win a major championship on the Champions Tour three years in succession, joining Hale Irwin. Of the six players who have won three straight in a single event, Irwin was the only one to have done so in a major championship when he won the PGA Seniors’ Championship between 1996 and 1998.
In the two years of the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek, only two players have finished in the top-10 both years. They are Tom Lehman (won in 2011 and 2012) and Michael Allen (fourth in 2011; tied for ninth in 2012).
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP
Russ Cochran earned 263 Charles Schwab Cup points for his win at last week’s Principal Charity Classic and jumped from 15th to 6th in the standings. Bernhard Langer maintains his 172 point lead over Kohki Idoki.
With double points awarded to all top-10 finishers in Champions Tour major championships, the Regions Tradition will have an impact on the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. The winner will earn 660 points based on the first-place check for $330,000.
18 – The number of consecutive starts by Hale Irwin in the Regions Tradition when he tees it up at this week’s tournament. He will be the oldest competitor in this field, at 68 years, 3 days when the event begins.
ON THIS DATE
6/9/02 – Fuzzy Zoeller wins a major championship for his first victory on the Champions Tour. Zoeller ends a victory drought of 15 years, 10 months and 27 days when he wins at Firestone by two strokes over Hale Irwin and Bobby Wadkins. Zoeller is the lone player in the field to finish under par (2-under) after 72 holes.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the previous 24 Regions Traditions, only Eduardo Romero, the 2006 champion, has opened with a round of par or higher and gone on to win. Romero was tied for 24th after his even-par 72 in the first round, the lowest position ever by a winner.
QUOTES TO NOTE
“It’s very difficult to do what I did. Will it be a record that lasts? I don’t know. Is it something I’m very proud of? Absolutely, simply because I know what went into it, the effort I put forth to get it. Others will judge, but I know it’s a special deal few if any will approach.” – Hale Irwin tells Bill Fields of GolfWorld how he feels about his all-time record 45 Champions Tour victories.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Andrew Allen @AndrewSAllen What a #champ! Thanks to Russ Cochran @PFGGolfClassic champ and wife Jackie for donating 5 more bikes to @YVIowa ! pic.twitter.com/EiMNrSwU4I