Greater Hickory Classic: Second-Round NotebookSeptember 15, 2007
By Phil Stambaugh PGA TOUR Staff
CONOVER, N.C. -- R.W. Eaks will be bidding for his second Champions Tour title of the 2007 season Sunday at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Earlier this year, Eaks won the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in western New York. A victory on Sunday would also be sweet redemption for Eaks, who lost in a playoff to Andy Bean last year at this event.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS 36-HOLE LEADERBOARD Player Score 1. R.W. Eaks 129 -15 2. Rod Spittle 132 -12 3. Scott Simpson 134 -10 T4. D.A. Weibring 135 -9 T4. Jay Haas 135 -9 T6. Tim Conley 137 -7 T6. Bob Gilder 137 -7 T6. Gil Morgan 137 -7 T6. Dana Quigley 137 -7 T6. David Edwards 137 -7
• In the first 23 Champions Tour events this year, 11 second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win, including Gil Morgan at the last Champions Tour event, the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. In the first four Greater Hickory Classics at Rock Barn, only Andy Bean (2006) led after 36 holes and went on to win.
• The winner of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn will earn 240 points in the Charles Schwab Cup race. R.W. Eaks currently stands in seventh place with 1,198 points, 1,079 points back of Jay Haas.
• Haas currently has 2,277 points and is currently tied for fourth. He could add to his lead over Brad Bryant (2,019) with a top-10 finish. Schwab Cup points are awarded on a weekly basis for top-10 finishes and at the end of the official season, the player earning the most Charles Schwab Cup points will collect a $1 million annuity.
• Canadian Rod Spittle's bogey-free 8-under 64 was the lowest second-round score in the field and was also a career-low round for him on the Champions Tour. Spittle's previous-best score on the circuit was a final-round 66 at the Regions Charity Classic that propelled him to his best career finish to date on the Champions Tour, a tie for sixth at the Regions Charity Classic in Birmingham, Ala.
• Gil Morgan now has reeled off 12 consecutive sub-par rounds at Rock Barn while Dana Quigley's 7-under 65 Saturday afternoon extended his streak of consecutive sub-par rounds at Rock Barn to nine straight. Morgan's streak began with a final-round 66 in 2003 and Quigley's run began with a final-round 68 in 2004. Morgan's best finish in this event is a sixth in 2003. Quigley's never finished worse than tied for 14th in this event (2004), placing second in 2005 and fourth last year.
• R.W. Eaks' 36-hole score of 15-under 129 was just one stroke off the best two-round total on the Champions Tour this year (128-Hale Irwin at MasterCard Championship at Hualalai) and easily eclipsed the old 36-hole tournament record (12-under-par 132 by Dana Quigley in 2005).
• R.W. Eaks' three-stroke lead after two rounds matches the largest 36-hole lead in event history. In 2004, Bruce Fleisher enjoyed a three-stroke advantage over Doug Tewell and Mark Lye, but eventually fell one stroke short of a hard-charging Tewell on Sunday.
• R.W. Eaks is 1 for 2 on the Champions Tour when leading/co-leading heading into the final round. Earlier this year at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, he held a one-stroke lead through 36 holes and went on to win his first Champions Tour event by three shots over Bruce Vaughan after carding a final-round 66 at En Joie Golf Club. In 2005 at the SAS Championship in Raleigh, Eaks led Bob Gilder by one stroke after two rounds, but carded a final-round 77 at Prestonwood Country Club and ended up tie for 10th.
• Six-time PGA TOUR winner Jeff Sluman made his Champions Tour debut on Friday, but only got in one hole before play was suspended by a series of thunderstorms. Sluman eventually returned to the course on Saturday morning and carded a 5-under 67 in his opening round as a senior. He followed up with a 72 in the second round and is tied for 18th through 36 holes. Sluman became eligible for the Champions Tour after turning 50 on Tuesday this week.
• The field scoring average for the first round last year was 70.833 and 71.701 for the second round. This year, with lift, clean and place rules in effect, the field averaged 71.141 for Round 1 and 70.731 for Round 2. Through 36 holes at the 2007 event, there have been a whopping 607 birdies made along with 13 eagles.
• Through 36 holes this year, the par-4 11th hole has played as the most difficult (4.269), yielding just 13 birdies. The par-5 18th hole has played as the easiest over 36 holes (4.429), yielding 80 birdies and eight eagles.
• Through 36 holes, R.W. Eaks has hit all 28 fairways. ... Tim Conley has missed just two greens in regulation. ... Morris Hatalsky has needed just 50 putts. ... Steve Thomas is averaging 289.3 yards off the tee.
• After opening with a 67 Saturday morning, defending champion Andy Bean added a 72 this afternoon and is tied for 18th through 36 holes.
• John Harris made the biggest move of any player in the field Saturday afternoon. After opening with a 73 in the morning, Harris rallied to post a 7-under 65 and vaulted up 46 spots into a tie for 11th after two rounds.