Round 3 notebook: Mitsubishi Electric Championship
January 19, 2014
By Champions Tour staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Bernhard Langer after winning the Mitsubishi Electric Championship (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Bernhard Langer used a run of five straight birdies over the last six holes to pull away from a crowded leaderboard. He trailed Jeff Sluman by a stroke early on the back nine and then tied him with the first of five consecutive birdies at the 13th hole. Fred Couples was also in the mix, making the turn just one stroke off the lead. However, Couples could do no better than par on both of Hualalai’s par-5s on the back and he eventually finished T2 along with Sluman, three strokes back of Langer. Langer’s winning total of 22-under 194 is the best 54-hole score on the Champions Tour since Rocco Mediate shot 22-under in winning the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary last summer. The 22-under 194 score was also the lowest three-round total at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship since John Cook won the first of his two titles on the Big Island with the same total.
Langer’s 64 Sunday was his seventh straight round in the 60s at Hualalai and in his career at this course, Langer has now recorded 20 sub-par rounds out of 21 played. Over his last seven rounds, he’s a cumulative 41-under.
A winner at Hualalai in 2009, Langer became the seventh player to win multiple times at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, joining Miller Barber, Al Geiberger, George Archer, Dana Quigley, Hale Irwin and John Cook.
Langer won his 19th career title on the circuit in his 127th start and today he ended a victory drought of eight months, 29 days (2013 Greater Gwinnett Championship). He continues a streak of 11 straight events among the top 10, having now not been out of the top 10 since last year’s U.S. Senior Open in Omaha where he was T14.
Langer has now claimed at least one title in a season for an eighth straight year
Langer’s three-stroke victory is the largest winning margin since Hale Irwin triumphed by five strokes at Hualalai in 2007.
Langer earns 307 Charles Schwab Cup points and a check for $307,000. His career earnings in seven appearances at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai now total $991,500.
Langer’s statistical breakdown:
Category Figures/Percentage Rank Driving accuracy 33/42 (78.6%) T13 Driving distance 287.7 9th Greens in regulation 48/54 T1 Putts per round 28.7 T20
• Jeff Sluman, playing in his 80th consecutive event on the Champions Tour, posted his best-ever finish in the season-opening event. Sluman has not missed a start on the Champions Tour since skipping the 2010 Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. Sluman’s previous-best at Hualalai was T4 in both 2009 and 2011. Sluman won the Sony Open in Hawaii on the PGA TOUR in 1999.
• Jay Haas closed with a 65 Sunday, his 27th straight sub-par round at Hualalai. Haas’ round which featured a chip-in eagle at the par-5 14th followed by a chip-in birdie at the par-4 15th, elevated him up into solo fourth, his seventh career top-10 finish in this event and third consecutive. It was also Haas’ best performance in this event since he was solo third in 2009. Haas’ seven career top-10s at Hualalai are T3 on the all-time list, two top-10s back of Tom Watson.
• Who played the par-5s the best this week at Hualalai? Five players were all 10-under on them for the week – Jay Don Blake, Russ Cochran, Brad Faxon, Rocco Mediate and Kirk Triplett. Bernhard Langer, the tournament winner, was nine-under on the par-5s for the week.
• Mark O’Meara was the only player in the field to make three eagles. Bernhard Langer’s 21 birdies were the most by a player in the field, one more than Jeff Sluman. Langer also made the fewest bogeys with just one and played his last 45 holes of the tournament without a bogey.
• Defending champion John Cook was T19 this week and he extended his streak of holes without a three putt dating back to last year to 182. Willie Wood also went without a three putt this week and now has the longest current streak of 225 holes.
• Final standings of the nine past champions in this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship field: Bernhard Langer (1), Fred Funk (T10), Dan Forsman (T12), Loren Roberts (18), John Cook (T19), Hale Irwin (T24), Larry Nelson (T24), Tom Watson (T24) and Tom Kite (39th).
R1 – Rocco Mediate (63), Steve Elkington (65), Fred Funk (65), Bart Bryant (66), Tom Lehman (67)
R2 – Bernhard Langer (64), David Frost (64), Fred Couples (65), Tom Lehman (66), Jay Haas (66), Steve Elkington (67), Olin Browne (67), Hale Irwin (69), Brad Faxon (69)
R3 – Bernhard Langer (64), Jeff Sluman (65), Jay Haas (65), Kirk Triplett (66), Brad Faxon (66), Tom Pernice, Jr. (67), Dan Forsman (67), Loren Roberts (67), Willie Wood (67)
• Scoring Averages at the par-72 Hualalai Golf Course:
Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative Friday 34.976 34.192 69.171 --- Saturday 34.195 34.780 68.976 69.073 Sunday 34.707 34.439 69.146 69.098
• There were 23 rounds below 70 on Sunday, one less than on Saturday but three more than Friday. Last year, there were 46 total rounds in the 60s for the week.
• The par-3 5th hole played as the toughest for the week (3.195), yielding just 10 total birdies. Just seven birdies were made at the par3 8th hole (3.130). The easiest hole for the week was the par-5 4th hole (4.276), giving up nine eagles and 73 birdies.
• This year, there were 27 eagles and 560 birdies made. Last year, there were only 11 eagles and 469 birdies made.