Rd. 3 Notes: Mississippi Gulf Resort ClassicMarch 25, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff
Weather: Sunny with high temperatures in the upper-70s and winds from the NW swirling at 5-15 mph.
Fred Couples 63-70-69--202 (-14) Michael Allen 68-69-66--203 (-13) Tom Pernice Jr. 64-73-69--206 (-10) Jeff Sluman 69-64-73--206 (-10) Bobby Clampett 67-69-71--207 (-9) Bill Glasson 68-70-69--207 (-9) Jim Thorpe 70-65-72--207 (-9)
• Couples sank a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole to break out of a tie with Michael Allen and win his first Champions Tour event of the 2012 season. Couples' seventh career victory, and first since last year's AT&T Championship, did not come without a struggle. Up by two strokes with four holes to play, Couples uncharacteristically bogeyed the par-5 15th hole and then temporarily fell into a tie with Allen after bunkering his 5-iron shot on the par-3 17th hole. With Allen in the clubhouse at 13-under-par, Couples laced a booming drive at the par-4 18th and his second shot with a sand wedge set up the winning putt.
• He wins his first event of the 2012 season and becomes the fifth different winner on the Champions Tour this year. Victory today was his first title on the Champions Tour since the AT&T Championship in San Antonio last fall.
• He now has claimed at least one tournament in each of his first three years on the Champions Tour.
• He wins his seventh career title on the Champions Tour.
• He now claims a TOUR event in 11th states in the U.S.
• He earns 240 Charles Schwab Cup points and moves into fourth place in the season-long standings with 288 total points on the season.
• He has now been in the final grouping 10 times on the Champions Tour, winning from this position seven times.
• He becomes the third straight player to win the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in his first appearance in the event.
• His 63 in the opening round was the lowest start by a winner on the 2012 Champions Tour.
• For the 15th consecutive time on the Champions Tour, the tournament winner has come from Sunday's final grouping. The last time the winner did not come out of the last grouping was at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in July when Jeff Sluman was in the third-to-last grouping.
• Gary Hallberg and Michael Allen both posted 66s, the low Sunday scores, and Hallberg's round vaulted him up 36 spots into 11th place, the biggest final-round move of any player in the field. The 6-under scores by Hallberg and Allen were also the lowest Sunday scores in tournament history.
• Allen's runner-up finish today is his fifth second-place effort since winning the 2009 Senior PGA Championship in his debut on the Champions Tour. It was Allen's first runner-up finish since he was T2 at the season-ending 2011 Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
• Tom Pernice Jr.'s first start on the 2012 Champions Tour was a successful one. Pernice finished T3 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic and now has two consecutive top-5 finishes in TOUR-sponsored events in Mississippi. Last summer on the PGA TOUR, Pernice finished T2 at the Viking Classic near Jackson. Today's performance by Pernice was also his best in a Champions Tour event since finishing second at the 2010 SAS Championship.
• 63-year-old Jim Thorpe managed a T5 finish this week in Mississippi. It was his 100th career top-10 finish as a member of the Champions Tour and his best effort in a Champions Tour event since he was T4 at the 2009 Regions Charity Classic near Birmingham, Ala. Before today, Thorpe's last top-10 effort was a T10 at the 2009 AT&T Championship.
• Couples made the most birdies in the event, totaling 21 over 54 holes. Steve Lowery (T26) was next closest to Couples with 17 birdies. Michael Allen made only one bogey this week (1st hole/Rd 2).
• Bill Glasson earned a spot in the upcoming Insperity Championship by virtue of his T5 finish this week. Glasson and Bobby Clampett, another non-exempt player, both were T5 but Glasson won the tie-breaker by virtue of his 69 in the final round vs. Clampett's 71.
• The hardest hole at Fallen Oak this year was the par-4 9th, yielding just 16 birdies for the week (4.346). Last year, No. 9 ranked as the third most difficult (4.226). Once again, the par-5 6th hole was the easiest for the field (4.675). This year, the hole gave up two eagles and 86 birdies. In 2011, No. 6 (4.466) yielded nine eagles and 120 birdies.
• Bogey-free Rounds:
R1 (3): Tom Pernice, Jr. (64), Michael Allen (68), Brad Bryant (68) R2 (2): Jeff Sluman (64), Larry Nelson (69) R3 (2): Michael Allen (66), Bernhard Langer (71)
Round Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative 2011 Cumulative Friday 35.864 35.642 71.506 --- 72.456 Saturday 36.062 36.333 72.395 71.951 71.221 Sunday 36.802 36.654 73.457 72.453 71.482
• Scoring Averages: