Pavin primed for season opener at HualalaiJanuary 19, 2012
Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM Managing Editor
With the Champions Tour kicking off the 2012 campaign this week, some players in the field may have to deal with the rust factor.
That won't be a concern for Corey Pavin.
Having played in last week's Sony Open in Hawaii, Pavin has four competitive rounds under his belt before teeing off in Friday's first round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
Will that give him an advantage on the rest of this week's field on the big island?
"I don't know if it's an advantage," Pavin said after finishing tied for 38th at Waialae. "I know it's good for me to do it.
"It's always hard for me to play the first tournament of the year. Just hard to get my golf legs under me. I guess you could say I was preparing for the Champions Tour by playing on the regular TOUR."
Perhaps the early prep time will be the difference as he seeks his first win on the Champions Tour.
In his 34 previous starts on the Champions Tour the past two years, Pavin's best finish are runner-up spots at The Cap Cana Championship and the Senior British Open in 2010. Last year, his best finish was a share of third at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf and the Senior British Open.
Pavin should come into Hualalai feeling good. In two previous starts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, he's finished tied for 13th and sixth. He'll enter this week having played 64 consecutive holes at Hualalai at par or better.
Pavin again plans to play a full year on the Champions Tour in 2012. Right now, his only planned starts on the PGA TOUR (besides the Sony Open) are in Fort Worth and Hartford.
"I enjoy the Champions Tour," Pavin said. "It's fun. I'm around people I've known for 30 years.
"It's very comfortable. Very competitive still. We play for good prize money. It's nice out there."
Pavin not only seeks his first win on the Champions Tour, he'd love to duplicate the kind of year his friend Tom Lehman had in 2011 when he won three events en route to claiming the Charles Schwab Cup.
"It's always more enjoyable when you're winning tournaments and playing as well as he did last year," Pavin said.
Pavin and Lehman are two of eight past Ryder Cup captains playing this week at Hualalai. He said the two have discussed how fortunate they are to have a tour they can play after turning 50.
"We really enjoy it," he said. "We know what it's about, what's expected of us as players and golf representatives and it's really enjoyable. It's a good way to spend a few years."