Notebook: Round 1, Toshiba Classic
March 15, 2014
By Champions Tour staff, PGATOUR.COM
- Fred Couples sits two strokes behind leader Bernhard Langer. (Gross/Getty Images)
Bernhard Langer continued his strong early-season play as the World Golf Hall of Famer opened with an 8-under-par 63 to open a two-stroke advantage over Chien Soon Lu, Jeff Hart and Fred Couples. Langer’s bogey-free round included eight birdies with three of those coming on his final four holes. Langer hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation.
• So far in 2014, Langer has posted 10 consecutive sub-par rounds dating back to last year and 19 of his 20 rounds have been below par. The lone blemish was an even-par 71 in the third round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the final event of the 2013 season.
• This marks the 18th time in his Champions Tour career that Langer has either led or shared the first-round lead at an event. He has gone on to win six of those.
• Jeff Hart’s opening-round 6-under-par 65 was his best start in 45 career starts on the Champions Tour. The former USC golfer’s best finishes in his career were a pair of T6 efforts, including the 2013 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship.
• Jeff Hart was playing with a new driver this week (Titleist 913) after having the driver he said he had used for the last several years (Titleist 909 d2) break at The ACE Group Classic.
• Couples, the 2010 winner, is off to another good start here in Newport Beach. Couples shot a 6-under-par 65 and is currently T2. In his five appearances here, Couples has opened with a round in the 60s all five times. He is making just his second start on the Champions Tour this year. He finished T2 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in January.
• Defending champion David Frost opened with a 1-over-par 72 and is T61.
• Duffy Waldorf finished with a 5-under-par 66 and is T5. So far this year, Waldorf lost in a playoff to Michael Allen at the Allianz Championship and then was one of three players that were T2 at The ACE Group Classic in his last start. All seven of his rounds have been in the 60s this year.
• Scott Simpson’s 5-under-par 66 was his lowest round since he finished with a 6-under-par 65 here a year ago. He finished T8 here in 2013.
• A total of 54 players finished with rounds under par with 35 of those in the 60s. The field averaged 69.938 on Friday, more than a stroke lower than last year’s first-round average of 71.123.
• Langer, Chien Soon Lu, Kenny Perry, Scott Dunlap, Bobby Wadkins, Fred Funk and Jay Haas all posted bogey-free rounds on Friday.
• Hole No. 8 was the most difficult to make birdie and only five players were able to do so on Friday. It ranked as the most difficult hole on the course with an average score of 3.247 (+.247), while No. 15 was the easiest at 4.457 (.-543). That hole yielded two eagles and 44 birdies.
• Brad Faxon and Scott Simpson had the fewest putts in their rounds on Friday – 24. In fact Faxon one-putted 12 of 18 holes, including 11 of his final 13 holes. Faxon ranks T64 in Putts Per Round on the Champions Tour in 2014, while Simpson ranks 89th.
• David Frost increased his streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt to 201, the longest current streak on Tour. John Cook, who is not competing this week, is at 200 in a row.
• Jeff Sluman is playing in his 82nd consecutive event. That is the best current streak on Tour.