Notes: 2013 season opens this week with Forsman defending his title

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January 14, 2013

The Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of the PGA TOUR season, featured three Champions Tour professionals in the field. Bart Bryant, yet to make his Champions Tour debut after becoming eligible late last year, and Russ Cochran, who shot 67 to Monday qualify for the tournament, both finished T41 at 7-under 273. Fred Funk missed the 36-hole cut by one stroke.

COMING UP:

• The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai (Jan. 14-20) will be contested at Hualalai GC for the 17th consecutive year. Dan Forsman is the defending champion.  The purse for the 40-player field is $1.8 million. As the opening-season event, the winner of the championship will also become the first to lead the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup points race.

• Australian native and former University of Houston standout Steve Elkington is set to make his Champions Tour debut this week. Elkington was a 10-time PGA TOUR winner, including a pair of PLAYERS Championship titles as well as the 1995 PGA Championship. He was also a member of four International Presidents Cup teams.

• This year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai will include five players who will be making their debuts at this tournament.  New faces include Steve Elkington, Joe Daley, Kirk Triplett, Willie Wood and Roger Chapman. Daley (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship) and Chapman (Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open) each won major titles in 2012 to qualify for this event for the next five years.

• Hale Irwin will make his 18th consecutive appearance in this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. A two-time winner of this event (1997 and 2007), Irwin’s 2007 victory was the last of his 45 career Champions Tour titles, 16 more wins than Lee Trevino, the next-closest player on the all-time wins list.

• Loren Roberts established a record for most birdies in a 54-hole event, making 26 at Hualalai in 2006. That mark was tied by Fred Couples in 2011, at the AT&T Championship.

• David Frost will begin the 2013 season with a string of 200 holes without a three-putt.

• For nine of the last 10 years, the par-72 Hualalai Golf Course has been the easiest layout on the Champions Tour. Here are the yearly stroke averages by the field since 2003:

Hualalai Golf Course year-by-year
Year
Scoring
Average

Over/Under
Par

Eagles
Birdies
Rounds
in the 60s

2012
70.374
-1.626
24
487
50
2011
68.746
-3.254
28
602
78
2010
69.130
-2.870
18
510
66
2009
69.561
-2.439
439
11
50
2008 69.081 -2.919 24 586 75
2007 68.715 -3.285 27 587 78
2006 67.981 -4.019 23 566 75
2005 69.49 -2.505 22 499 65
2004 68.923 -3.077 19 553 73
2003 69.556 -2.444 25 496 52

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

No player has won the season-opening event and gone on to claim the Charles Schwab Cup at the end of that season.

NUMBERS

7 – The number of World Golf Hall of Fame members who have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship (1985/Peter Thomson, 1994/Jack Nicklaus, 1997 & 2007/Hale Irwin, 2001/Larry Nelson, 2002/Tom Kite, 2009/Bernhard Langer, 2010/Tom Watson).

DID YOU KNOW?

Jack Nicklaus (1994) is the only former winner of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship who didn’t finish the season among the top-30 money-winners. Nicklaus played a limited schedule that season, making only six starts. Dan Forsman, the 2012 winner, finished 25th on the final money list.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"The odd thing is some of the guys out here are guys my son played with. It’s really interesting and fun to see their progress" – Russ Cochran speaks about his fellow competitors at last week’s PGA TOUR Sony Open in Hawaii. Cochran’s son, Ryan, who played at Florida caddied for him last week. His youngest son, Case plays at Texas A&M.

"I think what’s a blessing in disguise is I’m so wimpy I don’t hit it hard enough to hurt it." – Bart Bryant shares his thoughts while nursing an injured wrist during competition and practice.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Rocco Mediate @RoccoMediate Jamie from Minneapolis asks, "When will you be playing this year?" I plan to play a full schedule @ChampionsTour... http://fb.me/2DCy2x7gW 

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