Round 3 Notebook: ACE Group ClassicFebruary 19, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Partly cloudy and breezy with highs in the upper-70s and winds from the SSW at 15-25 mph throughout the round.
In breezy conditions on Sunday, Kenny Perry played steady golf and cruised to a five-stroke victory over defending champion Bernhard Langer. Perry started the final round up by three strokes and made an 18-foot par save at the 1st hole that set the tone for the day. His birdie at No. 3 increased his margin to four strokes over Larry Mize and none of his pursuers could get any closer the rest of the way. The key to Perry's victory might have been his play on the front nine this week at TwinEagles. He was bogey-free on that side, making 13 of his 24 total birdies.
• Perry claimed his second career title on the Champions Tour and the victory came in his 15th career start on the circuit. Perry's first victory on the circuit came last fall at the SAS Championship in his 11th career start.
• Perry matched Langer's tournament record of 20-under 196 set one year ago at The Quarry. Perry's five-stroke victory also matched the largest winning margin (Allen Doyle/1999). His 24 total birdies this week were just two shy of Loren Roberts's all-time record for most birdies in a 54-hole Champions Tour event. Last year at The Quarry, Bernhard Langer made 23 birdies.
• Perry's victory today was his first official TOUR win in Florida since the 2005 Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando on the PGA TOUR. He also has won two unofficial titles in Naples -- 2005 Franklin Templeton Shootout (with John Huston) and the 2008 Merrill Lynch Shootout (with Scott Hoch).
• Perry became the 10th player to win the ACE Group Classic in his first appearance in the event, joining Fred Couples (2010), Loren Roberts (2006), Mark James (2005), Craig Stadler (2004), Lanny Wadkins (2000), Allen Doyle (1999), Hale Irwin (1997), Lee Trevino (1990) and Gary Player (1988).
• Perry earned 240 Charles Schwab Cup points for his victory and is in fourth place in the standings after three official events on the 2012 Champions Tour. Dan Forsman still leads with 307 points. Corey Pavin (270) and Bernhard Langer (259) are second and third. At the end of the season, the player with the most Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout.
• Perry's 20-under-par total was the lowest three-round score on the Champions Tour since Fred Couples posted a 23-under 193 score at last year's AT&T Championship in San Antonio, the second-to-last official event of the 2011 season. Perry's five-stroke victory was also the largest winning margin on the Champions Tour since Couples won by seven strokes at that same event in 2011.
• Defending champion Langer finished as the runner-up this year. It was the highest finish by a defending champion on the Champions Tour since John Cook claimed a second straight Charles Schwab Cup Championship to end the 2010 season. It was also the best finish by a defending champion at the ACE Group Classic since Mike Hill won back-to-back events in 1993-1994.
• Langer eagled the par-5 17th hole all three days, a first on the Champions Tour since Dave Rummells made three consecutive eagles on the 1st hole at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge during the 2010 Boeing Classic.
• Bill Glasson's third-place finish this week was his career-best on the Champions Tour. Glasson's previous-best effort on the Champions Tour was T4 at the 2011 Montreal Championship.
• Mike Goodes, the medalist at the open qualifier at Old Corkscrew Golf Club on Tuesday, earned a spot in next month's Toshiba Classic by virtue of his T3 finish at The ACE Group Classic. It was his best performance in a Champions Tour event since placing T3 at last year's Principal Charity Classic during the summer.
• The winner of The ACE Group Classic has now come out of the final grouping in each of the last 12 years. Dating back to last year, the tournament winner has played in the final grouping in the last 13 events on the Champions Tour. The last time the winner was not in the last grouping was at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach when Jeff Sluman was in the third-to-last group.
• Mark Calcavecchia's streak of consecutive top-10 finishes ended at eight consecutive with his T12 performance at The ACE Group Classic. Calcavecchia had started his run with a victory at the 2011 Boeing Classic. During his run of top-10s, Calcavecchia was a cumulative 72-under-par.
• Jay Haas is now the only Champions Tour player with top-10s in each of the first three events. Haas finished sixth this week in Naples after placing T5 last week at the Allianz Championship and T7 in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
• Loren Roberts, a two-time ACE Group Classic champion, kept his streak of par/better rounds in Naples intact with a 5-under 67 today. Roberts' run now stands at 21 consecutive and he's never had a round above par in the ACE Group Classic.
• The field stroke average at TwinEagles this year was 71.043, the lowest for a Champions Tour event at TwinEagles. The previous low at this course was 71.199 in 2006. The field average at The Quarry last year was 70.893. The field this year made a total of 923 birdies and 26 eagles. Last year at The Quarry there were 928 birdies and 21 eagles made.
• With breezy conditions today, there were only 12 rounds in the 60s compared to 39 sub-70 scores yesterday. The stroke average for the field today was 72.234 vs. 69.949 yesterday. Nick Price's 6-under 66 was the low round on Sunday and vaulted him up 23 spots into a T12.
• Lanny Wadkins withdrew from the tournament before the start of his final round due to food poisoning.