Round 1 Notes: Toshiba ClassicMarch 15, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
-- David Frost’s bogey-free 63 gave him a one stroke over Fred Couples after the opening round of the 2013 Toshiba Classic. Frost made eight birdies, including five on the back nine at Newport Beach Country Club, to register his best score in 10 career rounds at the Toshiba event and second-lowest round in his Champions Tour career. Couples kept pace with Frost, matching the South African’s eight birdies, including four from 15 feet or more as well as a 15-foot par save at the 6th hole that kept the momentum going.
-- Today marks the second time this year and only the second time in his Champions Tour career that Frost has held a first-round lead. Earlier this year in Hawaii, Frost shot 65 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in the opening round and eventually lost to John Cook in a playoff. Frost’s 63 today means the average score by a first-round leader this year is 64.0.
-- A total of seven first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this event in the previous 18 Toshiba Classics. Nick Price was the last to do so when he carded 60 in the first round and went wire-to-wire at Newport Beach Country Club. In the previous 18 Toshiba Classic tournaments, only one player has been outside the top 10 after the opening round and rallied to win. In 1998, Hale Irwin was T13 after the first round but his final-round 62 allowed him to overtake Hubert Green and win by a stroke.
-- Defending champion Loren Roberts opened with a 2-under 69 (T17), marking the fifth straight year he’s started the Toshiba Classic with a round in the 60s. Roberts 69 today also extends a streak of sub-par scores at Newport Beach Country Club to 11 straight rounds.
-- England’s Barry Lane made his first start on the Champions Tour since he was T3 at the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry, Scotland last summer. Lane has won four times on the European Seniors Tour and finished second on the European Seniors Order of Merit in 2011. He earned his way into the Toshiba Classic this week by successfully open qualifying on Monday and is making his first appearance in a three-round event on the circuit.
-- Bernhard Langer holed a 30-yard pitch shot for an eagle on the 18th hole and his three on the par-5 finishing hole, coupled with an eagle at the par-5 3rd hole made him the first player on the 2013 Champions Tour with two eagles in a round. Prior to Langer making two eagles in his round today, Fred Couples was the last to do so at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship last year. Langer’s eagle at the last hole today gave him a 67 and extended his streak of par/better rounds to 16 straight dating back to the second round of the 2012 AT&T Championship.
-- Bart Bryant withdrew from the tournament before the round due to the flu and was replaced by Don Pooley. Pooley made his first start in a Champions Tour event since last year’s Toshiba Classic and carded a 3-over 74. On this day 26 years ago, Pooley holed a 4-iron shot for an ace on the 17th hole in the final round of the Hertz Bay Hill Classic and as a result, he earned $500,000 with $500,000 going to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
-- Jim Gallagher Jr. posted a 5-under 66 today, his best starting round in almost a two-year career on the Champions Tour. Gallagher is fighting to maintain his exempt status on the Champions Tour, having played out of the Career Victory category since he turned 50 in March, 2011. His two-year exempt window that came from his five career wins on the PGA TOUR will end on March 24 when he turns 53.
-- One day after attending the funeral of his older brother Mario in Mexicali, Mexico, local favorite Esteban Toledo returned to Newport Beach Country Club and shot 3-under 68.
-- D.A. Weibring’s 4-under 67 today was his best starting round in a Champions Tour event since he shot 67 on Friday at the 3M Championship in early August of last year. Weibring was hobbled by Achilles heel issues for the last half of the 2012 season.
-- Newport Beach Country Club played to a field stroke average of 71.123 (+0.123) today compared to 70.600 for the first round last year. A total of 24 players shot scores in the 60s today compared to 35 in the first round of the 2012 event. Today’s scoring average was the highest for a Friday at the Toshiba Classic since 2006 when the field scoring average for Round 1 was 71.487.
-- In addition to David Frost (63), Chien Soon Lu (67), Peter Senior (68), Mark Brooks (68), Wayne Levi (69) and Olin Browne (69) all had bogey-free rounds.