Notebook: The ACE Group Classic, Round 2
February 17, 2014
By Champions Tour Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Kirk Triplett will try to defeat Bernhard Langer at The ACE Group Classic on Sunday. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
Defending champion Bernhard Langer and Kirk Triplett share the 36-hole lead heading into Sunday’s final round at The ACE Group Classic. Langer couldn’t duplicate his opening-round 64; he shot a 2-under-par 70, but it was good enough for a share of the lead. Triplett posted his second consecutive bogey-free 5-under-par 67 to move into contention for his third Champions Tour victory. Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne trail by just one stroke with Colin Montgomerie and Bob Tway sharing fifth place three back.
-- Triplett ran his string of bogey-free holes to 64 dating to his last start at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in his lone previous start. His last bogey came at No. 8 in the second round.
-- Triplett has never led or shared the lead heading into the final round of a Champions Tour event since joining the Tour in 2012. His previous best position was T2 at the 2013 Boeing Classic (finished T12) and 2013 SAS Championship (finished third).
-- Should Bernhard Langer defend his title he would be the first player to do so on the Tour since Triplett did so at the 2013 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
-- Langer has led or shared the lead a total of 18 times heading into the final round and has prevailed 12 of those times, including one event that was called after 36 holes due to weather (2010 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am).
-- With a victory, Langer would win his third ACE Group Classic title and would join a distinguished list of players who have won the same event three times on the Champions Tour. That group includes Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Bob Charles, Lee Trevino, and Gary Player among others.
-- Langer and Triplett played together in successive events in 2013. They were in the final grouping at the SAS Championship (along with eventual winner Russ Cochran) and were in the next-to-last group in the previous event at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach (an event won by Triplett).
-- Since 2000, the second-round leader/co-leader has won seven of 14 events, including the last four years.
-- The best come-from-behind win came in 1998 when Gil Morgan came from five down to overtake second-round leader Jim Albus when the event was played at Bay Colony GC.
-- The winner of The ACE Group Classic has come out of the final grouping in each of the last 13 years. The last time it didn’t happen was in 2000 when Lanny Wadkins needed a final-round 64 to rally from three strokes back and eventually triumphed in a playoff.
-- The winner of Sunday’s event will receive 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Bernhard Langer leads with 361 points followed by Michael Allen (240) and Jay Haas (181).
-- Fourteen of the previous 26 events in Naples have been decided by either a playoff or one stroke. A player has come from behind in the final round to win 12 times, including six of the last 12 years.
-- Among the players lurking just three strokes back is Colin Montgomerie. Despite missing a short par putt on No. 18, Montgomerie posted a 5-under-par 67, matching Kirk Triplett for low round of the day.
-- Duffy Waldorf remained on contention just one stroke behind after a 4-under-par 68 on Saturday. Waldorf is still searching for his first Champions Tour victory after losing in a playoff last week with Michael Allen.
-- Bill Andrade moved up 22 spots in the standings with a 4-under-par 68 on Saturday. He had started the day T33, but is now T11 and could very well earn his first top-10 finish since making his debut a week ago.
-- Triplett, Duffy Waldorf, Olin Browne and Bill Glasson have each posted consecutive rounds in the 60s.
-- Bogey-free rounds:
R1 – Bernhard Langer (64), Olin Browne (66), Kirk Triplett (67), Michael Allen (68), and Jay Don Blake (70).
R2 – Kirk Triplett (67) and Duffy Waldorf (68)
-- A total of 10 players posted rounds in the 60s and 24 finished below par on Saturday. There were 17 in the 60s on Friday and 44 sub-par rounds.
-- The most difficult hole on Saturday was again No. 18 with an average score of 4.375 (+.375), while No. 3 was the easiest at 4.588 (-.412). There were 3 eagles and 34 birdies. No. 4 was the most difficult to birdie with just three.