Walmart First Tee Open: Second-round notebookAugust 31, 2008
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- For the first time in 23 Champions Tour events this year, there are co-leaders heading into the final round. Phil Blackmar, Jeff Sluman, John Harris and Loren Roberts are all tied at 9-under-par 135 after two rounds of this year's Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach, the most professionals tied after 36 holes in the five-year history of the event. Last year after two rounds, Hale Irwin, Gil Morgan and Des Smyth were all tied for the lead at 9-under 135.
Inside the Numbers 36-Hole Leaderboard Player Score T1. Phil Blackmar 135 -9 T1. Jeff Sluman 135 -9 T1. John Harris 135 -9 T1. Loren Roberts 135 -9 5. Craig Stadler 136 -8 T6. Steve Thomas 137 -7 T6. Fred Funk 137 -7 T8. Fuzzy Zoeller 138 -6 T8. Tom Kite 138 -6 T8. David Eger 138 -6 T8. Allen Doyle 138 -6
• Three of the four co-leaders have never been in this position on the Champions Tour. Both Champions Tour rookies Phil Blackmar, an open qualifier this week, and Jeff Sluman, a winner earlier this year in Boston, go into the final round of a Champions Tour event with a share of the 36-hole lead for the first time.
• The last time Blackmar was in this position on the PGA TOUR came at the 1997 Shell Houston Open when he was tied for the lead heading into Sunday with Kevin Sutherland and eventually defeated him in a playoff for his third career win on the circuit. When Sluman won at the Bank of America Championship earlier this year, he came from one stroke back on Sunday.
• The last time Sluman was in this position on the PGA TOUR was at the 2005 Memorial when he shared the third-round lead with David Toms, Bart Bryant and Fred Couples before finishing tied for third at Muirfield Village. When John Harris won the 2006 Commerce Bank Championship, he came from five strokes back on the last day and then defeated Tom Jenkins in a playoff.
• Three of the four previous winners of the Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach have been leaders/co-leaders heading into Sunday's final round. The exception came in 2006, when Scott Simpson rallied from two strokes down to win his first Champions Tour title. Overall this year on the Champions Tour, 10 of 22 Saturday leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win.
• The amateur team of Jeff Rotsch and Mark Wilhite, both executives with General Mills, are 31-under-par 113 through two rounds. They lead the amateur team competition by four strokes.
• Defending champion Gil Morgan and Jeff Sluman turned in the low rounds of the day at Pebble Beach, both carding 6-under 66s. Morgan had the lone eagle of the day at Pebble, making a three at the par-5 sixth hole. There were three eagles made at Del Monte today (Lonnie Nielsen, DeWitt Weaver, Tom Purtzer).
• Of the top 11 players on the leaderboard, seven played their Saturday rounds at Pebble Beach. Last year on Saturday, 10 of the top 13 players on the leaderboard played their rounds at Del Monte.
• Last year, Saturday's scoring average at Pebble Beach was 73.615 and Friday's average was 71.949. The average at Del Monte of Saturday was 70.205 compared to 70.667 on Friday in 2007.
• After 36 holes at Pebble Beach, the par-3 fifth hole is the most difficult hole with a scoring average of 3.321 (+.321). After 36 holes at Del Monte, the par-3 sixth hole has played the hardest at 3.205 (+.205).
• Hale Irwin's streak of 12 consecutive rounds of par/better on the Monterey Peninsula came to an end with a 1-over 73 at Pebble Beach Saturday.
• Denis Watson withdrew after his round with a bad knee. Watson was at 7-over 151 through 36 holes.
• The winner on Sunday will receive 315 Charles Schwab Cup points and will also earn a check for $315,000. Jay Haas (tied for 12th) leads the Schwab Cup race by 98 points over Bernhard Langer who is idle this week. Fred Funk (tied for sixth) is in third place, 366 points back of Haas and could overtake Langer with a victory Sunday. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most Charles Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout and will collect the Charles Schwab Cup.