Rd. 3 Notes: AT&T ChampionshipOctober 16, 2011
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Sunny and warm with highs in the mid-80s and winds from the SE at 5-10 mph.
Final Standings: 1 -- Fred Couples (193/-23); 2 -- Mark Calcavecchia (200/-16); T3 -- Tom Lehman & John Cook (202/-14); 5 -- Peter Senior (203/-13); T6 -- Michael Allen, Jeff Hart & John Huston (205/-11).
• Couples set a new tournament 54-hole scoring mark and used a solid back-nine to pull away for a seven-stroke victory over Mark Calcavecchia in the 27th annual AT&T Championship. Couples 54-hole total of 23-under-par 193 shattered Mark McNulty's record of 18-under-par 195 set in 2004. McNulty's mark was set on the par-71 Oak Hills C.C. After making just one birdie over his first 10 holes, Couples lead over Calcavecchia had shrunk to four strokes, but Couples answered with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 and added three more birdies on three of the final four holes for his sixth career victory on the Champions Tour. He closed his day by chipping in from 20 feet from behind the green on No. 18 for a birdie.
• Couples won for the sixth time in his career and also became the third multiple winner on the Champions Tour this year, joining Tom Lehman and John Cook with that distinction. Couples won the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in August. He earned $270,000 with his victory as well as 270 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race.
• Couples seven-stroke victory was the largest on the Champions Tour in 2011 and it was three strokes better than Bernhard Langer (ACE Group Classic) and Tom Lehman (Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic when they won those events.
• The victory increased Couples' 2011 earnings to $957,753 and he jumps from 20th to 12th on the current money list.
• Only five players remain in the hunt for the 2011 Charles Schwab Cup. Tom Lehman leads the current race with 2,338, followed by Mark Calcavecchia with 1,956 (382 points behind). Peter Senior is third with 1,782 points and John Cook fourth with 1,726 points. Russ Cochran is a distant fifth with 1,508 points. A total of 884 points is available to the winner of the tournament.
• Lehman went over $2 million in earnings with his T3 finish on Sunday. Lehman has now earned $2,039,776 over $850,000 more than he won a year ago.
• John Cook continues to be a money machine in the AT&T Championship. In five appearances, Cook owns two wins, a pair of T3s and a fifth-place finish. He has earned $792,900, an average of $158,580, During this span, Cook has posted 14 rounds in the 60s in 15 starts.
• Peter Senior finished the tournament without a bogey, marking the second time he had done so this year (Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. It was also the third time in his career he had accomplished that. He also did so at the 2009 Regions Charity Classic where he finished T12. Senior finished fifth on Sunday, his 12th top-10 finish in 2011. Dating back to the previous tournament, Senior has a run of 58 consecutive holes without a bogey and will carry that string into the first round of the upcoming Charles Schwab Cup Championship later this month.
• There were no changes in the top 30 for the second year in succession as all 30 held their spots to earn a berth in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco later this month. Tom Pernice, Jr., who held the 30th spot coming into the event, remained in that position and finished $18,244 in front of Bob Gilder, who was the odd man out.
• Hale Irwin will be returning to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship for the first time since 2007 after finishing the year's final full-field event No. 26 on the money list with $599,811. Irwin becomes the oldest player to qualify for the 30-player field at 66 years, 4 months and 13 days. Gil Morgan previously held the mark at 63 years, 1 month and 4 days when he qualified in 2009. With one event remaining, Irwin has already earned nearly $250,000 than he did in all of 2010 ($352,978). Irwin owns seven top-10 finishes this year after posting just three in the previous three campaigns.
• Monday qualifier Jeff Hart finished T6 which earned him a berth in the 2012 Allianz Championship in February in Boca Raton, Fla., as a top-10 finisher not otherwise exempt.
• Defending champion Rod Spittle was T54 in defense of his title.