13 to watch for 2013: No. 5 Fred Funk

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Fred Funk and his always-straight driver picked up two wins in 2012.
January 09, 2013
Vartan Kupelian

Here’s a surprise: Fred Funk topped the Champions Tour in driving accuracy in 2012, hitting 79.86 percent of the fairways.

Obviously, that’s no surprise at all but it reveals more than some might suspect. It says that Funk is back because when he’s on his game, nobody drives the ball more efficiently.

Funk put an exclamation point on his comeback from injuries by winning twice in 2012, finishing fourth on the money list and then moving all the way up to fifth in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race.

Funk’s victory at the Insperity Championship ended a drought of more than 20 months and 29 Champions Tour events. He did it by making birdies on four of the last five holes to reel in Tom Lehman. Funk’s second victory came at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Funk also had his day in the majors, finishing T2 at the U.S. Senior Open. He was T4 at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Funk played in 22 Champions Tour events last year, six on the PGA TOUR and one more on the Web.com Tour. The sheer volume of his play suggests that Funk has gotten over the injuries which had held him back.

Since arriving on the Champions Tour in 2006, Funk won at least once each year except 2011. After a promising start to the year, Funk was sidelined after the U.S. Senior Open. He underwent surgeries on his thumb and another on a knee and didn't return until the Allianz Championship in February. His goal for 2012 was to “get back in the mix.”

Funk accomplished it, and if 2012 is an indicator, look for Funk to be back somewhere near the top of the mix this year.

2012 QUICK REVIEW

Best finishes 1st Insperity Championship, Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn
By the Numbers
Starts: 22
Cuts made: 21
Top-10 finishes: 9
Schwab Cup ranking: 5th
Money List rank: 4th
Champions Tour ranking
Driving distance: 51st
Driving accuracy: 1st
Greens in regulation: 10th
Putts per round: 15th
Scoring average: 13th
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