Notes: Langer prepares to defend a title for 13th time

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February 13, 2012
Champions Tour staff

The Champions Tour season continues with the ACE Group Classic (Feb.13-19) at The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course) in Naples, Fla. The purse is $1.6 million and the winner will receive $240,000 and 240 Charles Schwab Cup points. Last year, Bernhard Langer shot a tournament-record 20-under 196 to win by four strokes over Fred Funk.

RECENTLY

Corey Pavin claimed his first Champions Tour victory at the Allianz Championship, defeating Australian Peter Senior with a birdie at the first hole of sudden death after the two had tied at 11-under 205. Pavin's win came in his 35th start on Tour.

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Peter Senior's runner-up finish at the Allianz Championship was his fifth in 48 starts on the Champions Tour. It also marked the third time he has been defeated in a playoff on Tour. Last year, he lost in playoffs at the Regions Tradition and at the Songdo IBD Championship.

Corey Pavin became the 12th consecutive player to win on the Champions Tour when playing in the final group. The last time the winner was not in the last group was at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach when Jeff Sluman was in the third-to-last group. NOTE: The winner of this week's ACE Group Classic has come out of the final grouping in each of the last 11 years.

• For every birdie Tom Lehman made during the Allianz Championship (he made seven), Allianz Life donated $1,000, which was shared by the southern Florida chapters of Junior Achievement and the Alzheimer's Association.

• Champions Tour professionals Fred Couples (T33) and Mark O'Meara (T61) made the cut in the European Tour event at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last week.

• Tom Pernice, Jr. finished T54 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am while fellow Champions Tour professional Steve Jones missed the cut.

• For the second consecutive year, the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship donated $10,000 to The Environmental Institute for Golf (EIFG), the philanthropic organization of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The EIFG is a collaborative effort of the environmental and golf communities, dedicated to strengthening the compatibility of golf with the natural environment. The Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship has a 30-year history and contributes proceeds to charitable organizations every year. To date, more than $3 million has been donated by the event.

COMING UP

• This year's ACE Group Classic marks the 25th anniversary of a Champions Tour event in Naples. Of the tournaments on the current Champions Tour schedule, the ACE Group Classic has the second-longest span in one metropolitan area. Only the AT&T Championship in San Antonio has been played longer in the same city.

• After two years at The Quarry, the ACE Group Classic will go back to a venue that previously hosted the event. The TwinEagles Club hosted the tournament from 2002-2006 where Tom Watson finished second three times. When Loren Roberts won the ACE Group Classic the last time it was held at The TwinEagles Club, he made Champions Tour history, becoming the first player to win the first three events to start a season.

Bernhard Langer will defend a title on the Champions Tour for the 13th time when he tees it up at the ACE Group Classic in Naples this week. Langer has been successful in defending one title thus far in his Champions Tour career -- 2007/2008 Administaff Small Business Classic (now know as the Insperity Championship).

• The First Tee of Naples/Collier has been designated as the official host charity for The ACE Group Classic this year and 2012 marks the fifth year for this chapter. The local First Tee chapter has been a beneficiary of the tournament since 2008 but this is the first year it will be the primary charity. Last year, the event donated more than $200,000 to charity.

• World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwinwill be the guest speaker at this year's 'Breakfast with a Champion' at the Toshiba Classic. The annual event begins Tuesday morning of tournament week at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Irwin, who has a record 45 Champions Tour wins, will share candid notes of his life and career with the audience. The breakfast also serves as a place to award two top Orange County high school students with a $10,000 scholarship from the Toshiba Classic Scholarship Fund. The Toshiba Classic will be played at Newport Beach CC on March 12-18.

• Sri Lanka will host 60 professionals from around the world at the three-day Senior PGA Asia Pacific tournament, to be held at Victoria G&CC in Kandy, Sri Lanka this week.

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

Dan Forsman remains the leader in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race with 307 points, 37 points ahead of tournament winner Corey Pavin. At the same time last year, Tom Lehman's lead was 149 points (over John Cook) after winning the Allianz Championship.

NUMBERS

3 -- The number of playoffs in the 24-year history of the ACE Group Classic.

DID YOU KNOW??

Allen Doyle's five-stroke, wire-to-wire victory at the ACE Group Classic in 1999 made him the first player to claim titles on both the Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour.

ON THIS DATE

2/14/82 -- Wayne Levi makes history when he becomes the first TOUR player to win a tournament while using a colored golf ball when he wins the Hawaiian Open at Waialae CC. A Wilson staff member, Levi used an Optic Orange ball in his victory.

2/14/99 -- Bruce Fleisher becomes the first Champions Tour player to win his first two starts on the circuit when he is a three-stroke victor over Larry Nelson at the American Express Invitational.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"I think it's harder to win out here (the Champions Tour) than on the PGA TOUR, because almost all of these guys have won lots of tournaments and they know how to win." -- Corey Pavin shares his opinion on the difference between the two tours, just days before winning his first Champions Tour event.

"It was a one-in-a-million shot, but he pulled it off. Of course, it was one in a million I'm going to bogey six of the last seven, but that's the way it goes." -- Mark Calcavecchia, who held a three-stroke lead over Corey Pavin through 11 holes of the final round of the Allianz Championship, sums up Pavin's incredible left-handed recovery shot at the 14th hole, when the two were tied. Pavin went on to win the tournament.

"The competition was tougher than I thought it was going to be when I turned 50 and it has only gotten better with each group of new players that comes onto the Champions Tour. What I've really noticed over the last few years is that we have some guys who can really bomb the ball off the tee." -- Bernhard Langer comments on the changes he has seen on the Champions Tour since he began in 2007.

"I don't know what they do but as long as it works I don't get too involved in asking." -- Fred Couples talks about the Orthokine blood treatment he gets for his back in Germany.

"Playing good cures all the ailments." -- Champions Tour rookie Jim Carter shares his thoughts on solving problems.

"It's easier on the regular (PGA) TOUR to make the cut and try to perform than it is to win a tournament out here (on the Champions Tour)." -- Kenny Perry admits he had difficulty transitioning from the PGA TOUR to the Champions Tour last year.

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