Saturday notebook: AT&T Championship

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October 27, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Partly sunny on Saturday with highs in the upper-50s and winds from the NNE at 10-15 mph.

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• Mark Calcavecchia used birdies on two of his last three holes and one-putts on the final five greens to craft a 3-under-par 69 and take a four-stroke lead over Kenny Perry after 36 holes of the AT&T Championship. Calcavecchia, the first-round leader in the tournament, hit a 6-iron shot to two feet for a kick-in birdie at No. 6 and then got a fortunate break at the par-4 17th when he pulled a drive way left of the fairway, but drew a good lie in the light rough. The favorable lie allowed him to hit a wedge to within 10 feet for an eventual birdie. Calcavecchia is bidding to become the Champions Tour's first wire-to-wire winner since Olin Browne at last year's U.S. Senior Open. His four-stroke margin is the largest 36-hole lead on the Champions Tour since Michael Allen led by five shots earlier this year after two rounds of the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am.

• Calcavecchia is bidding to become the seventh player on the Champions Tour this year with two wins and is searching for his third career title on the circuit. Earlier this season, he captured the Montreal Championship and in 2011, Calcavecchia notched his first victory at the Boeing Classic.

• Calcavecchia is the only player with a pair of rounds in the 60s this week. A total of 10 of the last 11 AT&T Championships have been won with three consecutive scores in the 60s and no player has won this event with more than one round in the 70s since 1993 when J.C. Snead captured this tournament at The Dominion Country Club without posting a round in the 60s.

• Saturday leaders have gone on to win 10 times on the Champions Tour in the 22 tournaments that have already been played this year. At the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn two weeks ago, Fred Funk was the first 36-hole leader to go on to win since Jay Haas in early June at The Principal Charity Classic.

  2011 2012
Driving Accuracy 22 of 28 15 of 28
Driving Distance 259.5 271.5
Greens In Regulation 29 of 36 27 of 36
Putts Per Round 30 27.5

• Last year after 36 holes, Calcavecchia was in second place at 10-under-par 134, seven strokes back of Fred Couples. Here's a comparison of Calcavecchia's stats for two rounds over the last two years:

Year Event Saturday lead/co-leader Eventual finish
2012 Toshiba Classic led by two strokes T2
2011 Boeing Classic tied with Cochran, Perry, Sluman Won in playoff
2011 Senior British Open tied with Cochran, Frost 2nd
2011 Regions Tradition led Senior, Sluman by two strokes T5
2010 3M Championship tied with Frost 2nd

• Calcavecchia hasn't had much luck as a Saturday leader/co-leader in his Champions Tour career. He's only gone on to win once in the five previous times he's been in this position since he joined the circuit. Here's a detailed chart:

• In the long history of the AT&T Championship, second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this event 14 times but last year's winner, Fred Couples, is the only 36-hole leader to do so in the last five years.

Projected Position Player Position Entering This Week Projected 2012 Money Total Current 36-Hole Status
28. Mike Goodes 27th -- $561,771 $573,704 +3/T33
29. Larry Mize 29th -- $532,448 $534,761 +8/T65
30. Mark McNulty 30th -- $510,619 $518,389 +5/T44
31. Tom Kite 31st -- $478,113 $509,563 Even/T13
32. Steve Pate 32nd -- $469,843 $501,293 Even/T13

• The top-30 money-winners on the Champions Tour through the AT&T Championship make it to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona next week. Should Brad Faxon (40th) come from behind and win tomorrow, he would move into the top 30, bumping Mark McNulty out of next week's finale. Tom Kite and/or Steve Pate could also conceivably pass McNulty should either/both have good rounds tomorrow. Here's a look at how things would shake out for next week as of the end of play on Saturday.

• The top two players on the Charles Schwab Cup points list made significant moves up the leaderboard on Saturday. Bernhard Langer, the current Schwab Cup points leader, shot 68 and jumped 16 spots into a T5. Langer is currently only 111 points ahead of Tom Lehman who also carded a 68 today and moved up 23 places into a T11. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes each week with 277 points going to tomorrow's winner of the AT&T Championship. Next week, all 30 players in the field will earn points. Lehman won last year's Charles Schwab Cup while Langer claimed the Schwab Cup in 2010.

• With slightly better weather conditions on Saturday, the field scoring average was 72.885 compared to 75.213 in Round 1. There are only 11 players under par for the first two rounds this year compared to 46 players under par through two rounds last year. The cumulative field scoring average this year is 74.063 compared to a cumulative average of 71.154 after two rounds last year.

• The most difficult hole through two rounds has been the par-4 10th (4.323), yielding just 16 birdies. The par-4 5th hole is ranked second most difficult (4.316), giving up only nine birdies.

• John Jacobs withdrew after his first round due to sickness while John Cook withdrew just prior to his second round with a lower back injury. Cook had finished fifth or higher in his previous five appearances in San Antonio including victories in 2007 and 2008. John Huston withdrew during his first round on Saturday with an injured elbow.

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