Notebook: Sluman has been strong in Mississippi

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March 18, 2013

By Mark Williams, Champions Tour staff

News and notes from around the Champions Tour for the week of March 18, 2013:

RECENTLY

• David Frost completed a wire-to-wire victory at last week’s Toshiba Classic with a final-round 65 at Newport Beach Country Club. Frost’s closing birdie on the final hole allowed him to tie Jay Haas’ tournament record score of 19-under 194 set in 2007. He also matched the largest winning margin in Toshiba Classic history, winning by five strokes over Fred Couples. Hale Irwin won by five in 2002. 

• David Frost’s wire-to-wire win at the Toshiba Classic came on the heels of Bernhard Langer’s wire-to-wire victory at The ACE Group Classic. The last time wire-to-wire victories were recorded in consecutive events on the Champions Tour was in 2004 when Craig Stadler won the SAS Championship and Wayne Levi followed with a victory at the Constellation Energy Classic.

• For just the second time in the last 19 Champions Tour events, Bernhard Langer did not finish among the top 10. Langer was T20 at the Toshiba Classic and prior to that the last time Langer was outside the top 10 on the Champions Tour was when he was T11 at the 2012 Boeing Classic.

• Craig Stadler aced the 13th hole in the final round for just the third hole-in-one in Toshiba Classic history.

• Canadian Jim Rutledge carded his career-low round on the Champions Tour, a bogey-free, 9-under, 62 in the final round of the Toshiba Classic, matching the best final-round score in tournament history.

• Esteban Toledo recorded his top career finish on the Champions Tour with a T6 at last week’s Toshiba Classic. On Thursday of tournament week, Toledo had traveled to Mexico for the funeral of his older brother, Mario, who died four days earlier.

• Last week, the USGA announced sectional qualifying sites for the 2013 U.S. Senior Open Championship, to be held at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club, July 11-14. Conducted over 18 holes, sectional qualifying will be held at 34 sites across the United States from June 17 to June 27. 

COMING UP

• Last year, Fred Couples was the third consecutive player to win the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in his first appearance in the event. Tom Lehman won in 2011 and David Eger was the champion in the inaugural event in 2010.

• Michael Allen finished runner-up at last year’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic and followed with victories at the next two events – the Encompass Insurance Pro Am of Tampa Bay and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf (teamed with David Frost). Allen hadn’t won since the 2009 Senior PGA Championship in his Champions Tour debut.

• Jeff Sluman may be a player to watch at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic this year. After a T17 finish in his first start at Fallen Oak in 2010, Sluman finished T2 in 2011 and T3 a year ago.

• Brian Henninger, who is scheduled to make his Champions Tour debut at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, has enjoyed success in the Magnolia State. He won the 1994 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic in Hattiesburg before that event became the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, in 1999, which he won that same year in Madison.

• The Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast is again the primary charity for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic and will benefit from this year’s event. The organization was chosen as the Champions Tour Charity of the Year in 2010.

• With the addition of two new teams to the Tavistock Cup, to be held March 25-26 at Isleworth G&CC in Orlando, Fla., three Champions Tour professionals will compete in the event. Fred Couples and Jay Haas will play for the Primland team and Bob Tway will represent Oak Tree National. Scott Verplank, who turns 50 in July next year, will also represent Oak Tree National.

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

• David Frost earned 263 Charles Schwab Cup points for his Toshiba Classic victory and moved ahead of Bernhard Langer into the lead in the season-long race with 565 total points on the season. Langer is now in second place in the Schwab Cup race, 48 points behind Frost. Fred Couples jumped from 11th to 5th in the standings with his Toshiba Classic runner-up finish last week.

NUMBERS

16 – The number of birdies made at Fallen Oak’s par-4 ninth hole during last year’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. It was the hardest hole of the tournament with a 4.346 scoring average for the week.

ON THIS DATE

3/18/90 – Dick Mast wins the first playoff in Web.com Tour history, defeating Rick Pearson on the fourth extra hole at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic which was shortened to 36 holes due to heavy rains.

DID YOU KNOW?

Michael Allen was the only player in last year’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic to post three consecutive rounds in the 60s and comes into this year’s tournament with a streak of five straight rounds in the 60s at Fallen Oak.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“It’s weird starting on Friday’s and having so much time off. For 27 years of tournaments on the PGA TOUR, there was no such thing as a month off.”Rocco Mediate describes one of the noticeable differences as a Champions Tour professional.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Kansas City Royals ‏(@Royals): VIDEO: PGA Tour legend and #KC native @TomWatsonPGA visits #RoyalsST and spends time with @GeorgeHBrett: http://atmlb.com/13PcbDf

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