Round 1 Notes: Mitsubishi Electric ChampionshipJanuary 20, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Sunny with highs in the low-80s and winds from the WSW in the afternoon at 10-15 mph.
• Bruce Vaughan and Tom Lehman matched 7-under-par 65s to share the first-round lead of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, the opening event of the Champions Tour's 33rd season. Vaughan took advantage of calm conditions in the morning and posted his 65 before the afternoon Kona winds kicked up and sent scores higher than normal. Playing in the final pairing of the day, Lehman holed a 10-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to tie Vaughan for the top spot. A runner-up at Hualalai last year, Lehman went on to claim both Player of the Year and Charles Schwab Cup honors in 2011. Lehman and Vaughan are one-stroke ahead of Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts, Corey Pavin and Jay Haas. Vaughan is making his first start on the Champions Tour since last year's Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship in late August. He earned a five-year exemption into this event when he won the 2008 Senior British Open Championship at Royal Troon.
• Firsts of the year on the Champions Tour: Eagle -- Fuzzy Zoeller (par-5, 4th hole) Birdie -- Denis Watson (par-4, 2nd hole) Sub-Par Round/Round In The 60s -- Denis Watson (69) Bogey-Free Round -- Curtis Strange (70)
• Today marks the first time since 2003 that leaders/co-leaders at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai posted a score higher than 64 on Friday. Nine years ago, three players were co-leaders after the first round with 66s.
• Bruce Vaughan has now been a first-round leader/co-leader five times in his Champions Tour career, but today is the first time he's been in this spot since the 2010 U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee. This is the third time Lehman has been among the first-round leaders since joining the Champions Tour in 2009, but the first time he's been in this spot in a 54-hole event.
• Since the tournament moved to Hualalai in 1997, seven first-round leaders/co-leaders have managed to go on to victory -- Gil Morgan (1998), John Jacobs (1999), Tom Kite (2002), Dana Quigley (2003), Loren Roberts (2006), Bernhard Langer (2009) and Tom Watson (2010). Last year's champ, John Cook, was T7 after the first round, posting a 6-under 66 on Friday.
• Corey Pavin's streak of bogey-free holes at Hualalai ended at 74 in a row after he made a five at the par-4 11th hole today. Pavin began his run of bogey-free holes on the 9th hole in the final round of the 2009 Mitsubishi Electric Championship and he then played all 54 holes last year without a blemish, finishing sixth in the event.
• Loren Roberts, a champion at Hualalai in 2006, kicked off his 2012 season with a 6-under-par 66, his 19th consecutive sub-par round in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship and his 17th overall score in the 60s at this course. Since shooting 9-under 63 in the first round he ever played on the Jack Nicklaus-designed layout in 2006, Roberts is a cumulative 93-under-par!
• 23 of the 41 players in this week's field shot rounds in the 60s today compared to 26 sub-70 scores in the 42-player field last year on Friday. The field average for today's first round was 69.610 compared to 68.667 in the opening round last year. In 2008, the first-round scoring average was 67.537, the lowest ever on a Friday at Hualalai.
• The par-5 10th hole again played as the easiest for the field, yielding seven eagles and 24 birdies today. No player in the field made a bogey there and the stroke average on the hole was 4.073. Last year on Friday, the 10th gave up two eagles and 27 birdies on Friday with a stroke average of 4.262. It eventually would rank as the easiest hole on the 2011 Champions Tour. Playing into a strong wind, the par-4 11th hole was the most difficult (4.390) today. No birdies were made on the hole today and there were 26 pars, 14 bogeys and 1 double-bogey.
• Six players made their first appearances in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai today -- Brad Faxon (-6/66), John Huston (-4/68), Jay Don Blake (-3/69), Mark Calcavecchia (-1/71), Olin Browne (even/72) and Kenny Perry (+1/73). Today was Calcavecchia's 12th straight par/better round dating back to last season. Seven players have claimed this championship in their first appearance with Loren Roberts being the last professional to do so in 2006... Larry Nelson, making his first appearance in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai since 2006 , shot 1-over 73.
• Defending champion John Cook opened his 2012 Champions Tour season with a 3-under 69. He's now a cumulative 25-under over his last four rounds at Hualalai. Last year, Cook had just one bogey over his 54 holes, but today his bogey at No. 2 ended a run of 28 bogey-free holes dating back to last year. Cook also made the only double-bogey at No. 11 today after playing the back nine at Hualalai bogey free in 2011.
• Statistically Speaking: Bob Gilder hit all 14 fairways today and Nick Price had the longest measured drive (343 yards/No. 4) ... Dan Forsman (-5/67) hit all 18 greens in regulation ... For the second straight year on Friday, the fewest putts by a player in the field was 24. Bruce Vaughan has just 12 putts on each side. Last year, Ben Crenshaw had only 24 putts in Round 1 ... Tom Lehman (65), Jay Haas (66), Bernhard Langer (68), Tom Kite (69) and Curtis Strange (70) all had bogey-free rounds today.
Quote Of The Day "Last year I had three wins in my first seven starts, but the key to my season was that it was a steady year overall. There's no pressure on me to do anything spectacular in 2012. I'll just try to keep doing what I've been doing and we'll see what happens." -- Round 1 co-leader Tom Lehman, the 2011 Champions Tour Player of the Year and Charles Schwab Cup winner