Notebook: Rd. 2, Greater Hickory Kia ClassicOctober 19, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Light rain showers in the morning with winds from the SSW at 5-10 mph and high temperatures only in the mid-60s. After brief clearing, light rain returned in the afternoon and continued until the conclusion of the round.
1. Bernhard Langer, 64-66--130 (-10); T2. Michael Allen, 67-65--132 (-8); Brad Bryant, 66-66--132 (-8); John Riegger, 65-67--132 (-8); T5. Olin Browne, 65-68--133 (-7), Bruce Vaughan, 71-62--133 (-7)
Bernhard Langer shook off bogeys on his first two holes with six birdies over his last 15 holes and crafted a 4-under-par 66, good enough for a two-stroke lead over three players after 36 holes. Langer three-putted the first green from long range to start his round and then hit a poor approach shot with a sand wedge at No. 2. However, the German World Golf Hall of Fame member rebounded from the shaky start, making three straight birdies at Nos. 4-6 and then he added birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 17 on his inward nine to seize the advantage over Michael Allen, Brad Bryant and John Riegger.
Bernhard Langer (64-66--130/-10)
-- Langer is bidding for his 19th career victory on the Champions Tour tomorrow which would move him into a tie for 10th place on the all-time wins list with George Archer, Larry Nelson and Gary Player.
-- Langer is trying to become the first three-time winner on the Champions Tour since 2011. Earlier this year, Langer won the ACE Group Classic and the Greater Gwinnett Championship.
-- In his Champions Tour career, Langer is 9-11 when he’s held sole possession of the lead going into the final round.
-- Langer has won three or more titles in a season on the Champions Tour three times. He claimed three events in the 2008 season, four titles in the 2009 season and won five tournaments in 2010.
-- Langer is trying to become the first international winner of the Greater Hickory Kia Classic. A win in Hickory tomorrow would be his 16th different title on the Champions Tour and his second in the state of North Carolina (2012 SAS Championship).
-- Langer comes into this week’s event in Hickory having finished among the top 10 in seven straight events, including a T8 last week at the SAS Championship.
-- He’s making his third appearance in the Greater Hickory Kia Classic this week. Langer finished solo third at Rock Barn in 2010 and T9 last year.
-- This marks the sixth time Bernhard Langer has been in contention for a title since the end of July and he’s had trouble closing lately.
Event After Saturday Score Finish Senior Open Championship Led by 3 70 lost playoff Boeing Classic 2nd, 3 back 70 T4 Montreal Championship Led by 3 75 T4 Nature Valley First Tee Open T3, 3 back 74 8th SAS Championship T2, 2 back 73 T8
Over the first six events of the 2013 season, Langer registered a pair of victories, two second-place finishes and a third-place finish. During that stretch, his final-round scoring average was 68.66. Over the last five events that he’s been in contention, his scoring average is 72.40. Overall this year, Langer ranks third in final-round scoring average at 69.20
Second-Round Notes/Statistics at the Greater Hickory Kia Classic At Rock Barn
-- Langer’s 36-hole score of 10 under is the highest to par to lead this event since Bruce Fleisher led the 2004 event by three strokes with a score of 9 under. Langer’s two-stroke lead after 36 holes is the largest margin at this event since R.W. Eaks was up three after two rounds of the 2007.
-- Thus far on the 2013 Champions Tour, Saturday leaders/co-leaders have won 10 of the first 23 stroke-play events, including five of the last eight tournaments.
-- Second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win the Greater Hickory Kia Classic five times. No second-round leader won the event over the first three years and then the second-round leader/co-leader won in 2006-09. After Gary Hallberg’s five-stroke come-from-behind victory in 2010, Saturday leader Fred Funk went on to win last year.
-- The winner of the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn will earn 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Kenny Perry, the current Schwab Cup leader, is currently T17 and will need a good round tomorrow to earn any Schwab Cup points. Langer, Perry’s closest pursuer in the 2013 Schwab Cup race, has a good opportunity to cut into his 609-point lead with a win or even a high finish tomorrow. Schwab Cup points are earned at each Champions Tour event for top-10 finishes. The player earning the most Schwab Cup points through the Charles Schwab Cup Championship will receive a $1 million payout.
-- 2008 Senior Open Championship winner Bruce Vaughan, the medalist at the open qualifier this week, made the biggest move of the day on Saturday, shooting his career-low score on the Champions Tour, a bogey-free 8-under 62. Vaughan’s previous-best round on the Champions Tour was 64 on three different occasions. His round today improved his score from yesterday by nine strokes and vaulted him up 45 spots into a T5. Bruce Vaughan’s 8-under 62 today was also the lowest second-round score in tournament history. Joe Inman shot 9-under 63 in 2003 on the Jones Course.
-- Defending champion Fred Funk’s run of consecutive rounds of par/better at Rock Barn was snapped at 19 straight after he posted a 3-over 73 today.
-- After 36 players broke par in the opening round on the re-configured par-70 Champions Course at Rock Barn yesterday, 38 players had sub-par scores on Saturday. The overall stroke average today on the par-70 course was 69.913 compared to 69.630 on Friday. Overall, the par-4 first hole again played as the most difficult today (4.438 on Saturday compared to 4.272 on Friday). Through the first two days of the tournament, only nine total birdies have been made at No. 1.
-- Mark Brooks and David Frost have each made just one bogey over the first 36 holes of the tournament. … Langer, Brad Bryant and John Riegger have each made 13 birdies. … Mark Bucek and Loren Roberts have missed just one of the first 28 fairways off the tee. … Langer, Kenny Perry and David Frost lead the field in greens hit in regulation, missing only four of the first 36 greens. … Willie Wood has averaged just 27 putts over each of the first two rounds.
-- Allen Doyle withdrew before the start of his second round with a hand injury. Doyle shot 7-over 77 on Friday.