Round 2 Notebook: Greater Hickory Classic at Rock BarnJune 11, 2011
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Sunny and hot with high temperatures in the low-90s and gentle breezes from the S at 5-10 mph.
• Bob Tway followed up a 63 on Friday with a solid 67 today and holds a one-stroke lead over Tommy Armour III after 36 holes of the 2011 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. On a second consecutive ideal day for scoring, Tway birdied four of his last eight holes to maintain his spot as the leader in the event. Tway's two-round total of 14-under-par 130 was one stroke off the tournament record, originally established by R.W. Eaks in 2007. Both Tway and Armour III now have golden opportunities to capture their first Champions Tour titles tomorrow, but there are 12 other players within four strokes of the lead. Last year, Gary Hallberg shot 11-under 61 in the final round and came from five strokes back for his first Champions Tour victory.
• Despite a plethora of birdies (377) today, there were only seven eagles made and Tom Kite had three of them. Kite became the first player in Champions Tour history to make a trio of eagles on the same nine and just the sixth player overall to make three eagles in a round. Kite holed a wedge from 84 yards for an eagle at the par-5 14th, then after making birdie at the par-3 15th hole, holed another wedge shot from 100 yards for an eagle at the par-4 16th hole. He finished his first nine by making eagle the par-5 18th hole, chipping in from just short of the green. Before today, the last player with three eagles in a round was Curt Byrum on Sunday at the 2009 Senior British Open at Sunningdale GC in England. Here are the others in Champions Tour history with three eagles in a round -- Don January (1985 Senior Roundup/3), Jimmy Powell (1985 Greenbrier/American Express Championship/3), Rocky Thompson (1992 Kaanapali Classic/3) and Bruce Lietzke (2003 MasterCard Championship/2).
• Tom Kite's 8-under 28 on the back nine (his first nine) tied Mike Goodes' nine-hole record set yesterday. It also bested the previous-low back-nine score in tournament history -- 30, Jim Thorpe, Rd. 2/2003; R.W. Eaks, Rd. 1/2007; Olin Browne, Rd. 2/2009.
• This marks the first time Bob Tway holds sole possession of the Saturday lead in a Champions Tour event. The last time he was in this position on the PGA TOUR was at the 2003 Ford Championship at Doral and he went on to finish T3. Tway's record when leading/tied for lead going into the last round of a PGA TOUR event was 1-5, claiming only the 1986 Manufacturers-Hanover Westchester Classic.
• Saturday leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win only four of the first 10 official events on the Champions Tour this year. In the previous eight events in Hickory, Saturday leaders/co-leaders have won four times with all four coming within the last five years.
• Here's some fun facts on tomorrow's final grouping:
Player Bob Tway (-14) Tommy Armour III (-13) James Mason (-12) Last Win 2003 Bell Canadian Open
2003 Valero Texas Open
2002 NFL Golf Classic
Best 2011 Champions Tour Finish T11 at both the Allianz Championship and Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic T15 at the Toshiba Classic Making first start of the season after successfully open qualifying on Monday with a 62. Champions Tour Wins/Best Career Finish None in 38 career starts on the Champions Tour... T2 -- 2009 Administaff Small Business Classic None in 32 career starts on the Champions Tour... 2 -- 2010 ACE Group Classic, Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, Principal Charity Classic 1 -- 2002 NFL Golf Classic... Has played in 166 events since winning at Upper Montclair, NJ PGA TOUR wins 8 including the 1986 PGA Championship 21990 Phoenix Open, 2003 Valero Texas Open None Did you know? Seeking to become the fourth wire-to-wire winner of this event (Bean/2006, R.W. Eaks/2007, 2008) and also the fourth player to make the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn his first victory on the Champions Tour -- Gary Hallberg (2009), Andy Bean (2006), Jay Haas (2005). Finished T7 last year at Rock Barn in his first appearance in the eventLike Tway, can also become the fourth player to make this tournament his first victory on the Champions Tour. Is seeking to become the third consecutive player over age 60 to win on the Champions Tour, joining Tom Watson and Bob GilderIs also trying to become the first player in Champions Tour history to win twice after open qualifying. His victory at the 2002 NFL Golf Classic made him the eighth of only 11 open qualifiers to go on and win a Champions Tour event.
• After an all-time record 69 sub-par rounds were shot on Friday, there were 62 sub-par rounds today, equaling the third-most for any single round in Champions Tour history. The stroke average for Round 2 was 69.259 compared to a tournament-record 69.099 yesterday.
• Through two rounds of this year's event, 15 of the 18 holes are averaging under-par scores. The par-3 9th hole is playing as the most difficult (3.130) with just 12 birdies made. In both 2009 and 2010, the toughest hole on the Jones course for this event was the par-411th hole. The hole played to a stroke average of 4.256 last year and 4.279 in 2009, yielding just 18 birdies for each event. However, this year with perfect scoring conditions, the 11th hole has a stroke average of 4.117 and has already given up 17 birdies.
• Four players are bogey-free through 36 holes this week, but none of them are better than T10 in the 36-hole standings -- Loren Roberts (T10), Peter Senior (T15), Mark McNulty (T15), Hal Sutton (T15). Dating back to last week's Principal Charity Classic, Sutton has now not made a bogey in his last 68 holes.
• This and That: Bob Tway leads the field this week with 17 birdies. Last year, Fred Couples set the tournament record with 23 birdies...Every winner of this event has carded a final-round score of 68 or better with the exception of R.W. Eaks who carded a 70 on Sunday in 2007 and still won by two strokes...Craig Stadler's 65 today now gives him 15 consecutive rounds at Rock Barn with a par/better score...Fred Funk's 67 today now gives him 14 straight par/better rounds at this event...Larry Mize has missed just one fairway over his first 36 holes, the fewest by a player in the field...Tom Jenkins has missed just four greens thus far...Frankie Minoza has needed just 47 putts over his first 36 holes and his 8-under 64 today was the best Saturday round.