AT&T Championship: Round 2 notebookOctober 30, 2010
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff
Weather: Sunny and pleasant with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s. Winds were from the S at 5-10 mph.
• Larry Nelson's birdie on the final hole gave the 63-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer a one-stroke margin over Steve Lowery, Jay Don Blake and Chien-soon Lu heading into Sunday's final round. Nelson, who won this event in 2001, the final year at the Dominion CC, holds sole possession of first place in a Champions Tour event for the first time since the 2003 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn where he eventually finished second.
• Should Nelson prevail on Sunday, he would become the oldest winner in Champions Tour history at 63 years, 1 month and 21 days. Mike Fetchick now holds that distinction at age 63, winning the 1985 Hilton Head Seniors Invitational on his birthday. Nelson is bidding for his 20th Champions Tour title.
• A victory by Nelson would give him three straight wins on the Champions Tour in Texas and would give him five wins in the Lone Star State. His two previous wins were at the 2004 FedEx Kinko's Classic (Austin) and the 2004 Administaff Small Business Classic (Spring/Houston area). He also won the 2001 SBC Championship (now the AT&T Championship) and the 2000 Bank One Senior Championship (Dallas) in the state.
• Here are second-round leader Larry Nelson's statistics thru two rounds:
Fairways Hit: 17 of 28 (60.7 percent/T38) Greens in Regulation: 29 of 36 (80.6 percent/T6) Putts Per Round: 28.0/T10 Driving Distance: 295.5/32
• If recent history means anything then Steve Lowery could join a lengthy list of rookie winners in this tournament. This is just his second start on the Champions Tour. He was T21 at last week's Administaff Small Business Classic near Houston. In fact, rookies have won six of the last seven AT&T Championships. Phil Blackmar's victory last year ended a streak of six consecutive rookie winners, but nine rookies have claimed this event in the 25-year history. Prior to Blackmar's win, John Cook won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008, becoming the fifth and sixth straight year the AT&T Championship had been won by a rookie.
Cook was technically a rookie in 2008 because he played in just two events in 2007. Here are the other rookie winners: Bruce Crampton (1986), David Graham (1997), Doug Tewell (2000), Craig Stadler (2003), Mark McNulty (2004), Jay Haas (2005) and Fred Funk (2006) are the others to do it.
• Second-round leaders/co-leaders have enjoyed mixed success in this event since it moved to Oak Hills in 2002 with four of eight leaders/co-leaders having won the event. In fact, four of the last five winners have come from behind the final day to win. That list includes Jay Haas (2005), John Cook (2007, 2008) and Phil Blackmar (2009).
• The winner of Sunday's event will receive 263 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Bernhard Langer leads with 3,160 points, 535 points in front of Fred Couples. Langer is currently T10 at this week's event. Couples is not in the field. Russ Cochran is third with 1,590 points.
Charles Schwab Cup Championship bubble Money List Name Current Position 2010 Earnings 26th Jay Haas T19 $661,783 27th Joe Ozaki T69 $625,634 28th David Peoples T39 $600,492 29th Brad Bryant T32 $582,800 30th Mark Wiebe T5 $582,546 31st Ted Schulz T19 $574,881/-$7,665 32nd Keith Fergus T10 $540,758/-$41,788 33rd Bob Tway T10 $525,589/-$56, 957 34th Mike Goodes T25 $496,814/-$85,732 35th Hal Sutton T39 $482,491/-$100,055 36th Jay Don Blake T2 $473,789/-$108,757
• With the top 30 players earnings spots in next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Harding Park, here is where several of the contenders stand heading into Sunday's final round:
• Jay Don Blake is making a late bid to possibly jump into the top 30 and perhaps a berth in next week's event in San Francisco. Blake fashioned a 7-under-par 64 on Saturday, his low round on the Champions Tour, and is currently T2.
• Monday qualifier Rod Spittle followed his opening-round 66 with a 3-under-par 68 and is currently T5 heading into Sunday's final round. As a non-exempt player, Spittle could earn a berth in the first full-field event on the 2011 season with a top-10 finish.
• The most difficult hole was again No. 13 with an average score of 3.390 (+.390). There were just four birdies during the round. The easiest was No. 15 at 4.416 (-.584).
• The scoring average jumped from 69.759 on Friday to 70.610 on Saturday.