Notebook: The ACE Group Classic, Round 3
February 17, 2014
By Champions Tour staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Kirk Triplett's third Champions Tour win came at The ACE Group Classic. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
Kirk Triplett sank a six-foot par putt on the final hole to avoid a four-way playoff and claim his third Champions Tour title by one stroke over Bernhard Langer, Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne. Playing one group in front of Triplett, Langer and Waldorf, Browne missed a birdie opportunity to move into a share of the lead with the trio at 16-under. The drama then switched to the final group. After Waldorf and Langer missed par putts, Triplett calmly sank his winning putt to end the drama. Waldorf’s bogey was especially frustrating since he had played bogey-free golf all afternoon, while Langer had grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17.
• The win was Triplett’s third on the Champions Tour. He won the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in both 2012 and 2013 and it marks the third year in succession he has won at least one event.
• The victory was worth $240,000 for Triplett as well as earning him 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race.
• The victory also extended Triplett’s eligibility for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai through 2016.
• Triplett string of bogey-free holes ended at 68 when he made a bogey on No. 5 on Sunday. His streak had started at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in his previous start. However, in his last 90 holes, Triplett has made just two bogeys (No. 8 in 2nd rd. in Hawaii and No. 5 today).
• It’s been a productive two weeks for the two Reno, Nev., products on the Champions Tour. Michael Allen claimed the Allianz Championship last week and Triplett was the winner on Sunday in Naples. Both played golf for the Wolf Pack and are members of that school’s athletic Hall of Fame.
• Duffy Waldorf finished second for the second consecutive week. After losing in a playoff to Michael Allen last week, Waldorf saw his chances slip away on Sunday when he made a bogey on his 54th hole, leaving him T2 with Olin Browne and Bernhard Langer. He has posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s this year and seven dating back to the end of the 2013 season. It was his fourth runner-up finish in 31 starts on the Champions Tour.
• Jay Haas and Jim Rutledge posted the low rounds on Sunday, each shooting an 8-under-par 64. Haas finished fifth overall and it was his third successive top-five finish this year. He was fourth at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and T5 a week ago at the Allianz Championship. Rutledge’s effort helped him vault from a T42 on Saturday to a T11 finish.
• Peter Senior rebounded from a slow start. After an opening-round 75 on Friday, Senior followed with rounds of 69-65 to move from a T63 to a T11.
• Jay Don Blake earned $5,280 with his T48 finish and surpassed the $10 million mark in all-time earnings.
• A week after winning the Allianz Championship in a playoff with Duffy Waldorf, Michael Allen followed with a T6 finish on Sunday.
• Bill Andrade posted his first top-10 finish on the Champions Tour when he finished T8 on Sunday. It was just his second start since turning 50 earlier this year. He was T46 last week at the Allianz Championship.
• Hal Sutton, who withdrew during his opening round on Friday, was released from an area hospital on Sunday after undergoing a heart procedure. Sutton said he plans to resume practicing this week and expects to play when the Champions Tour resumes next month (March 14-16) at the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, CA.
• Once again the winner of The ACE Group Classic came out of the final grouping making it 14 straight 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.
• With Triplett’s one-stroke victory, 15 of the 27 ACE Group Classics have been decided by either a playoff or one stroke.
• In an effort to help raise awareness for American Heart Health Month, The ACE Group Classic and NCH Healthcare Systems encouraged all spectators to wear red on Friday of tournament week. Through the participation of hundreds of fans, players and tournament staff, their efforts helped support a donation of $20,000 to NCH Healthcare System Foundation.
• On Saturday each of the day’s SUBWAY® restaurants Putt for Dough winners got to compete on the 18th green for a chance to take home $50,000! Although all participants fell short of the $50,000 grand prize, Ralph DePrisco from Brooklyn, NY won free SUBWAY® for a year for having his 10-foot putt land one foot from the hole. To have claimed the $50,000 prize, participants would have had to make a 10-foot, a 30-foot and a 50-foot putt. Since no player made the 10-foot putt, DePrisco was the winner as the closest of the participants.
• Triplett, Waldorf and Olin Browne all posted three 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)
R3 – Jay Haas (64), Wes Short, Jr. (67), Tommy Armour III (69), and Steve Elkington (67)
• A total of 31 players posted rounds in the 60s and 49 finished below par on Sunday. In the previous two rounds there were a combined 27 rounds in the 60s and 68 sub-par rounds.
• The most difficult hole for the event was No. 18 with an average score of 4.383 (+.383), while No. 3 was the easiest at 4.504 (-.496). There were 9 eagles and 118 birdies.
• Not only was No. 18 the most difficult for the event, but it was also the toughest to birdie with just 13 in the tournament and just two on Sunday -– Jeff Sluman and Scott Dunlap. A year ago it was the second-most-difficult finishing hole on the Champions Tour (4.339). Only Royal Birkdale (Senior British Open) was harder.