Notes: Browne eyes rare repeat at U.S. Senior Open

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Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Kirk Triplett became the fourth first-time winner on the Champions Tour in 2012 on Sunday.
July 09, 2012
Champions Tour staff

The Champions Tour heads to Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich., for the 2012 U.S. Senior Open Championship next week. The purse is $2.6 million and the winner will receive $500,000 and 1,000 Charles Schwab Cup points. Last year at Inverness Club, Olin Browne played his final 10 holes at 1 under to hold off Mark O'Meara by three strokes to capture his first major victory and first Champions Tour title.

RECENTLY

Kirk Triplett, a rookie on the Champions Tour, shot a final-round 66, the low round of the day, to come from four strokes off the pace and win his first title in eight starts on the Champions Tour at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. A chip-in birdie at No. 16 preserved a two-stroke victory over Mark McNulty. At 50 years, 3 months and nine days, Triplett became the youngest winner on the Champions Tour since Brad Faxon claimed the Insperity Championship last fall just over two months after turning 50.

• Triplett became the first rookie to win on the Champions Tour this year and also the fourth first-time winner in 2012, joining Corey Pavin (Allianz Championship), Roger Chapman (Senior PGA Championship) and Joe Daley (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship).

• With his win at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Kirk Triplett earned a two-year exemption into the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

• Triplett became the first player to win this event with a pair of rounds in the 70s and his 66 on the final day matched the lowest final-round score by a winner in tournament history. Craig Stadler shot 66 at Pebble Beach in the inaugural event in 2004.

Hale Irwin's final-round 69 moved him up into a T6 at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, his first top-10 effort at this event since placing second in 2007. It was also the 67-year-old Irwin's third top-10 finish of the 2012 season and this week's performance also extended his all-time record total of top-10s on the Champions Tour to 208.

Jay Haas shot a second straight 69 at Pebble Beach to move up into a T3 this week. It was Haas' seventh top-10 effort in eight appearances at this event. He finished second in 2004, 2006 and 2011.

Brad Bryant's T3 at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach this year marked the second consecutive season where he has finished among the top three in this event (T2 in 2011). Bryant now has nine top-10 performances on the 2012 Champions Tour, equaling his total from the previous two seasons combined.

• Sixty-two year-old Tom Kite and 57-year-old Brad Bryant shared the 36-hole lead at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach marking the first time since 2008 that multiple players were tied for the top spot after two rounds at the event. Kite fell to T9 after a closing round 76.

Kenny Perry and Tom Watson were the only two Champions Tour players at this week's The Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Both Perry and Watson made the cut. Perry finished at 4 under and placed T46, while Watson was 4 over and placed T73.

COMING UP

Last year, Browne became the fifth player to win his first Champions Tour event at the U.S. Senior Open. He will try to become the fifth multiple winner and the first repeat winner since Allen Doyle claimed his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open title at Prairie Dunes in 2006.

DOUBLE THE FUN
U.S. Open & U.S. Senior Open champions
Name U.S. Open U.S. Senior Open
Billy Casper 1959, '66 1983
Hale Irwin 1974, '79, '90 1998, 2000
Orville Moody 1969 1989
Jack Nicklaus 1962, '67, '72, '80 1991, '93
Arnold Palmer 1960 1981
Gary Player 1965 1987, '88
Lee Trevino 1968, '71 1990

• Irwin is one of nine former U.S. Open champions entered in this year's U.S. Senior Open field. Irwin (1974, 1979, 1990) is joined by Jerry Pate (1976), Tom Watson (1982), Larry Nelson (1983), Fuzzy Zoeller (1984), Scott Simpson (1987), Tom Kite (1992), Corey Pavin (1995) and Steve Jones (1996). When he won the 1998 U.S. Senior Open at Riviera Country Club, Irwin became the seventh and last man to claim both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open in his career. Here's a chart detailing these multiple winners:

• Both Loren Roberts and Tom Watson will be bidding to claim their fourth different major title on the Champions Tour. If either is successful at Indianwood this year, they would join Jack Nicklaus as the only other player to claim four different senior majors.

Tom Lehman is again threatening Irwin's all-time record for most consecutive sub-70 scores ever recorded on the Champions Tour. Lehman will tee it up at Indianwood this week with a chance to tie or surpass the mark that eluded him last year.

• International players have captured the U.S. Senior Open a total of seven times. South African Gary Player was a two-time winner (1987-88), while Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo (1980), Eduardo Romero (2008), South Africa's Simon Hobday (1994), Australia's Graham Marsh (1997) and Germany's Bernhard Langer (2010) each won it once.

Michael Allen has not finished worse than 11th in any of the first three major championships on the Champions Tour this year. He was 11th at the Senior PGA Championship and then was T9 at both the Regions Tradition and Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.

Joe Daley stunned the golf world by claiming his first major title on the Champions Tour at the recent Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. He's bidding to become the first player to win consecutive senior majors since Bernhard Langer in 2010 (Senior British Open/U.S. Senior Open). It will be Daley's first appearance in the U.S. Senior Open.

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

Triplett picked up 255 Charles Schwab Cup points for winning this week's Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and moved into 13th place in the season-long standings with 643 total points. There was no change in the top-five in the current standings. After 14 events this year, Lehman, the 2011 Charles Schwab Cup champion, leads with 1,522 points, 256 more points than Allen.

NUMBERS

56 -- The number of consecutive major championships on the Champions Tour Bob Gilder will be competing in when he tees it up at this year's U.S. Senior Open. Gilder has played in every major championship on the circuit since joining the Champions Tour in 2001 -- the longest current streak on the circuit.

DID YOU KNOW??

Indianwood Golf & Country Club was designed by Wilfrid Reid and William Connellan and opened for play in 1925. Reid, who was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1985 also designed The Olympic Club, the site of the 2012 U.S. Open. Stan Aldridge purchased Indianwood in 1981 and hired Reid's great grandson Bill Zmistowski for club renovations.

ON THIS DATE

• 7/9/77 -- Tom Watson edged Jack Nicklaus by one stroke in an epic British Open at Turnberry that came to be known as "The Duel in the Sun."

• 7/10/76 -- Johnny Miller won his only British Open by six strokes over runners-up Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus. It was Miller's second and last major championship title.

• 7/11/93 -- Jack Nicklaus wins his second U.S. Senior Open Championship at Cherry Hills CC in Cherry Hills Villiage, Colorado. Nicklaus shot a 6-under 278.

• 7/12/75 -- Tom Watson wins the first of five British Open crowns after defeating Jack Newton in a playoff at Carnoustie.

• 7/13/74 -- Gary Player wins the British Open at Royal Lytham by four strokes over Peter Oosterhuis. It was his third win in the event and each victory came in a different decade.

QUOTES TO NOTE

• "To win anywhere is special. But to win at Pebble Beach is extra special. To do it in my first Champions Tour try is great. " -- Kirk Triplet shares his thoughts on winning his first Champions Tour title at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

• "Being able to play in an event like The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only will I get to play two beautiful courses in California but I'll also have a chance to interact, play with, and learn from professional golfers." -- Marianne Li, 15, a Newport High School sophomore, represented The First Tee of Greater Seattle and described her excitement to play in this year's Nature Valley First Tee Open.

• "I've been coming to The Greenbrier ever since 1979. Every year, I've come here and there. A few years back Sam (Snead) passed and people here at the Greenbrier came to me and said, 'We know you love this place, Tom. Would you consider the pro emeritus spot that Sam held here?' I said, well, first of all, I never could carry Sam's shoes in that spot, but if you really want me, I would be happy to. I love this place and that's the history of me and The Greenbrier. And the banana cream pie." -- Tom Watson and why The Greenbrier holds a special place in his heart.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Carson Daly: @CarsonDaly Excited to help out @ChampionsTour and the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Golf legends and inspiring jr golfers. Great time!

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