Round 3 notebook: Greater Hickory Classic

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October 14, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour

Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the low-70s and light winds from the SSW at 5-10 mph.

• After making an eight-foot par save at the par-3 17th hole, Fred Funk holed a 2 ½-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to ease past Duffy Waldorf for his second victory of the 2012 season. Funk, a winner earlier this year at the Insperity Championship, started the final round one stroke in front of Larry Mize. But after making seven consecutive pars, he found himself in a tie with Waldorf after the UCLA product made birdie at the par-5 7th hole, his fourth on the front side. Both players remained tied at 12-under after 10 holes and then Waldorf briefly took the lead with a short birdie putt at No. 11. However, Funk answered with an eight-foot birdie at No. 12 and both players birdied the par-5 14th to remain tied. After Waldorf hit an indifferent third shot on the par-5 18th and two-putted for par from 20 feet, his fate was in Funk's hands. Playing in the group behind Waldorf, Funk laid up to 43 yards with his second shot and then pitched his third inside three feet. He then tapped in for the victory.

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Fred Funk became the sixth player on the circuit this year to claim a pair of titles, the most on the Champions Tour to do so since there were 10 multiple winners in 2008.

• Funk's win at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, coupled with his triumph earlier this year at the Insperity Championship, gives him multiple victories in a season for the first time since 2008 when he won both the MasterCard Championship and JELD-WEN Tradition. On the PGA TOUR, Funk won multiple events in 1995.

• Funk's victory today is his eighth career title on the Champions Tour, matching his total number of wins on the PGA TOUR. His win today came in his 109th start on the Champions Tour.

• Funk earned 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race and vaulted into the sixth spot with 1,361 total points. Bernhard Langer, the current Charles Schwab Cup leader (2,250), collected 42 points by making birdies on three of his last five holes to eak out a T9 in the tournament. Langer's lead over Tom Lehman (2,139) is now 111 points. Roger Chapman remains in third place with 1,756 points and Michael Allen is in fourth position with 1,531 points. There are now just 1,158 points available to the winner in the two remaining events in 2012. It is now mathematically possible for only the top-eight players on the current Schwab Cup standings to win the Schwab cup.

• Funk earned $240,000 and moved up to fourth on the 2012 money list with $1,242,187, the fourth time in the last five years he's been over the seven-figure mark in official earnings.

• Funk's previous-best finish in five other appearances at this event is a T3 in 2011.

• Funk becomes the eighth different winner in the 10-year history of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. At 56 years and four months of age, he also becomes the oldest winner of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, surpassing R.W. Eaks who won the 2008 event at 56 years, three months, 23 days.

• Funk joins Willie Wood as the second player this year to go bogey-free in an event and win. Wood captured the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship almost a month ago without making a bogey. Funk also won the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii without making a bogey. He's now gone 84 straight holes at Rock Barn Golf & Spa without a bogey dating back to the 7th hole in the second round last year. Over this stretch, Funk is a cumulative 28-under par. Dating back to the final round of last week's SAS Championship, Funk now has a current streak of 60 holes without a bogey.

• Funk will play his first-career event on the Web.com Tour next week at the Winn-Dixie Greater Jacksonville Open.

Duffy Waldorf's runner-up finish at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn was his best performance in four career starts on the Champions Tour. Waldorf joined the Champions Tour in late August at the Boeing Classic.

• Defending champion Mark Wiebe birdied the last hole to finish in third place for the second straight week. Wiebe, who came into the week in 28th position on the money list, earned a check for $115,200 this week and secured a spot in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship by landing in the 23rd position with $648,767.

Chip Beck's T4 performance this week at Rock Barn was his first top-10 finish of the season and marked his second consecutive top-five finish at this event. Beck also finished third in his initial appearance at Rock Barn in 2006.

Fred Funk became the first Saturday leader to win on the Champions Tour since Jay Haas claimed the Principal Charity Classic in early June.

Hale Irwin matched his age for the third time this year when he posted a bogey-free 67 in the final round. Irwin also matched his age at the Senior PGA Championship (Rd.2) and Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (Rd. 4). Irwin bettered his age at the 3M Championship with a 65 in the third round.

• After an all-time record 1,147 birdies were made at last year's Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, just 823 birdies were made this year. The cumulative scoring average this year was 72.008 compared to 69.008 in 2011, an all-time record on the Champions Tour for a par-72 course.

• Mexico's Esteban Toledo finished T72 in his Champions Tour debut this week.

Kirk Triplett withdrew prior to the start of his final round after his caddie, Scott Steele, suffered a mild heart attack in the player parking lot Sunday morning. Steele was taken to a local hospital in the Hickory area and is in stable condition.

• This and That: Duffy Waldorf led the field in total birdies with 17 while Mark Wiebe and Tom Lehman were the only two players to make a pair of eagles in the event...Fred Funk became only the second Greater Hickory Classic winner to shoot a score higher than 68 on Sunday. In 2007, R.W. Eaks carded a 70 in the final round and won...Fred Funk's final-round 69 extended his streak of par/better rounds at Rock Barn to 18 straight, the longest active streak.

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