Notes: Couples makes up ground in Schwab Cup race

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Inglis/Getty Images
Fred Couples' win in the Senior British Open gives him a spot in the 2013 British Open at Muirfield.
July 30, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

The Champions Tour heads to Blaine, Minn. for the 3M Championship at TPC Twin Cities. The purse is $1.75 million and the winner will receive $262,500 and 263 Charles Schwab Cup points. Last year, Jay Haas scored a hole-in-one on his way to a one-stroke win over Kenny Perry, Peter Senior and Tom Lehman.

RECENTLY

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Fred Couples earned his second major title on the Champions Tour with a two-stroke win over Gary Hallberg at the Senior British Open at Turnberry in Scotland. Couples holed a 25-foot putt for birdie on the final hole to shoot 67 for a 271 (-9) total to secure the win.

•Hallberg's 7-under-par 63 in round two of the Senior British Open fell one stroke shy of the tournament 18-hole scoring record also set at Turnberry in 2003 by Jim Colbert. Hallberg's three-stroke lead after 36 holes matched the largest 36-hole lead in tournament history. Fred Funk set that mark in 2009. Besides Hallberg, only Couples was able to manage a round below par in round two, finishing with a 2-under-par 68. The scoring average for the day was 76.01.

•Lehman's opening-round 4-under-par 66 gave him 19 consecutive rounds of par or better, the longest streak on the Champions Tour this year.

•Two Champions Tour professionals were honored by Turnberry Resort at last week's Senior British Open. Tom Watson witnessed the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the 18th fairway of the Ailsa Course to commemorate the 178-yard 7-iron shot he hit to two feet sealing his victory over Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open Championship. Greg Norman, the 1986 British Open winner at Turnberry, received Honorary Life Membership of Turnberry.

• Champions Tour professional Tom Pernice Jr. finished T37 at the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR.

COMING UP

• The 3M Championship is set to achieve an unprecedented goal for a Champions Tour event. Charitable contributions will reach $20 million in 2012 which also marks the tournament's 20th anniversary.

• This year's 3M Championship includes 15 players who won major championships on the PGA TOUR and five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame (Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Larry Nelson).

• Lehman will make his second appearance in the 3M Championship on a course he co-designed with Arnold Palmer in 2000. Lehman finished T2 last year.

•The Greats of Golf Challenge, a two-man team, 36-hole, better-ball exhibition will take place on Saturday and Sunday during the 3M Championship. Players invited to participate include World Golf Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Hubert Green, Gene Littler, Lee Trevino, and Billy Casper, as well as 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody, 1970 and 1976 PGA Championship winner Dave Stockton, 1966 PGA Championship winner Al ("Mr. 59") Geiberger, two-time major winner David Graham and 1981 British Open winner Bill Rogers. In addition, Miller Barber, Don January and Jim Colbert, all major championship winners on the Champions Tour, will participate.

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

• Couples earned double points (632) for his win at the Senior British Open and jumped from 8th to 4th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings. He trails Lehman by 414 points. Lehman holds a 188 point lead over second-place Roger Chapman. Langer is the only other player within 420 points of Lehman's lead.

Year Leader After Last Major Eventual Winner
2001 Bruce Fleisher, Doyle 2nd (-61 points) Allen Doyle
2002 Hale Irwin (+437 points) Hale Irwin
2003 Tom Watson (+958 points) Tom Watson
2004 Hale Irwin (+109 points) Hale Irwin
2005 Dana Quigley, Watson 3rd (-536 points) Tom Watson
2006 Loren Roberts, Haas 2nd (-282 points) Jay Haas
2007 Loren Roberts (+161 points) Loren Roberts
2008 Fred Funk, Haas 2nd (-28 points) Jay Haas
2009 Fred Funk, Roberts 2nd (-356 points) Loren Roberts
2010 Bernhard Langer (+790 points) Bernhard Langer
2011 Tom Lehman (+566 points) Tom Lehman
2012 Tom Lehman (+188 points) TBD

• Here's a chart of how the Charles Schwab Cup race has stood after the last major championship of the season has been played and how it's ended up. Six of the 11 leaders at this point in the season have gone on to win the Schwab Cup, including the leaders the last two years. Watson made up the most ground in 2005 to eventually win. In 2003, Watson also enjoyed the biggest lead ever.

NUMBERS

7 -- The number of different players who held a share of the lead at some point in the final round of last year's 3M Championship.

DID YOU KNOW?

No player has successfully defended his title at the 3M Championship. Hale Irwin came closest to doing it, winning in 1999 and then finishing T2 the following year.

ON THIS DATE

7/30/06 -- Corey Pavin ends a 10-year drought (10 years, two months, 11 days) as he goes wire-to-wire to win the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee for the second time. Pavin set or tied several TOUR record in the process, including an 8-under-par 26 on the front nine in his opening round. His opening-round 61 matched the Brown Deer Park course record and his 36-hole total of 61-64?125 matched the best first 36-hole mark in Tour history.

8/1/04 -- In just his third start on the Champions Tour, Peter Jacobsen battles heat and a sore left hip to claim the U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive. Jacobsen walks 36 holes in 90 degree heat the final day for his win, making him the second-youngest U.S. Senior Open champion at 50 years, 4 months 28 days.

8/5/01 -- Ten days after turning 50, Bobby Wadkins becomes the youngest winner of a Champions Tour event when he captures the Lightpath Long Island Classic in New York. He edges Larry Nelson and Allen Doyle by one stroke with a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 18.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"I can say I won a Senior Open at Turnberry. It's nice to win any event, but there've been a lot of great champions on this (trophy), that's for sure." -- Couples reflects on his victory last week.

"Now I've got an excuse to play at the front tee." -- Sandy Lyle took a break last week before the Senior British Open and used hickory-shafted clubs to play Prestwick, home to the first dozen British Open Championships in the 1800s.

"When I saw his score going on the board, that was, to me, very astounding, like, wow, how do you do that today. I thought he was across the street here at the par-3 course." -- Lehman remarks on Hallberg's second-round 63 at Turnberry. Hallberg's score was one of two sub-par rounds for the day and five strokes better than Fred Couples' 68.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Davis Love III ?@Love3d Congrats to my Assistant Captain on the win yesterday at the Senior British Open!

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