Round 3 notes: Senior Players Championship

October 03, 2009
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff

• Here is the third-round leaderboard:

1. Tom Watson (198/-12) T2. Loren Roberts, John Cook & Mark Wiebe (202/-8) 5. Jay Haas (203/-7) T6. Phil Blackmar & Morris Hatalsky (205/-5)

• At age 60 years, 30 days, Watson is bidding to become the oldest winner of a major championship on the Champions Tour (since start of Champions Tour in 1980). Allen Doyle is currently the oldest at 57 years, 11 months and 17 days (2006 U.S. Senior Open).

• Watson is bidding for his sixth major title on the Champions Tour which would tie him with Gary Player on the Champions Tour ledger. Jack Nicklaus (eight majors) and Hale Irwin (seven) are currently 1-2 on the all-time list. Watson has won three Senior British Open crowns as well as a Senior PGA Championship and a JELD-WEN Tradition on the Champions Tour.

• Watson's 6-under-par 64 was his lowest round since an opening-round 63 at the 2008 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. He won that event.

• Watson has made just one bogey thru 54 holes. The next closest player is Wiebe with four.

• Watson's four-stroke lead is the largest 54-hole margin in this event since Hale Irwin led Graham Marsh by four strokes in 1999. It is also the largest 54-hole lead this year on the Champions Tour.

• Since 2000, the leader/co-leader of this event has won it three times -- Craig Stadler (2003), Mark James (2004) and Roberts (2007).

Player Tom Watson/-12 Loren Roberts/-8 John Cook/-8
Last Win (stroke play) 2008 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am 2009 Boeing Classic 2008 AT&T Championship
Best 2009 Finish 4th at Senior PGA Championship/2nd at British Open on PGA TOUR 3 Wins, including Senior British Open, The ACE Group Classic and Boeing Classic Lost in playoff to Mike Reid/JELD-WEN Tradition
Last Time Played in Final Group 2007 Constellation Energy Sr. Players Champ. (2nd) 2009 Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach (T5) 2009 JELD-WEN Tradition (2)
2009 Starts/Top 10s 9/4 18/12 19/8
Champions Tour Wins 12 11 2
PGA Tour Wins 39 8 11
Residence Stilwell, KS Germantown, TN Windermere, FL
Did You Know? Went 27 consecutive years winning at least $100,000 on the PGA TOUR Favorite golf courses are any designed prior to 1950 and those by A.W. Tillinghast Won the 1978 U.S. Amateur, beating Scott Hoch

• Sunday's final group will include Watson, Roberts and Cook. Watson and Roberts were in the final group in 2007 along with Fred Funk at this event. Roberts led Funk by three strokes and Watson by five strokes after 54 holes. However, he pulled away with birdies on four of the first five holes and coasted to a six-stroke win. Here is a rundown on Sunday's final grouping.

• With 810 points available in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race for the winner, a victory by Watson would vault him into the top five with three events remaining. However, should Roberts prevail, it would put him in the driver's seat with 2,912 points and would give him a huge lead in the race with just three official events remaining. Funk currently leads with 2,109 points (he's currently T8, eight strokes behind) and Roberts is second with 2,102 points. Langer is third with 1,734 points.

Player No. 18 No. 13 No. 3 No. 4 No. 12 No. 16
Watson Even Even Even -1 -1 Even
Roberts +2 Even +1 -2 -1 -1
Cook +1 +1 -1 -1 Even -2
Wiebe +2 Even Even -1 Even -2

• Below is a look at how the top four players have played the three most difficult (Nos. 18, 13 and 3) and the three easiest holes (Nos. 4, 12 and 16).

• Blackmar moved himself into position for a good finish with his 6-under-par 64 on Saturday, the lowest round of his Champions Tour career and the low round in the tournament so far along with Watson. Blackmar is currently T6 and his best finish this year was a T11 at the Regions Charity Classic.

• The third-round 64s by Blackmar and Watson matched the best third-round score in tournament history. The record was originally set in 1989 by Orville Moody and later matched by six others, including Jeff Sluman in 2008.

• Watson, Cook and Wiebe are the only players in the field with three consecutive sub-par rounds.

Hale Irwin is lurking just outside the top 10 after 54 holes. Irwin is T12 and could be in line for his first top-10 finish since he was T7 at the 2007 Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

• Irwin also continues to lead all players in Driving Accuracy, hitting 38 of 42 fairways (90.5%).

• With near-perfect scoring conditions on Saturday, the field averaged 69.584, nearly a stroke better than Friday's average of 70.558 and two strokes better than the opening-round average of 71.603. A total of 41 players finished under par on Saturday.

Jeff Sluman continues his run up the leaderboard. After opening with a 4-over-par 74, Sluman has posted rounds of 68-66 to move up 41 places. He is currently T19.