Notes: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, Rd. 1
March 22, 2014
- Jeff Maggert made his Champions Tour debut on Friday. (Dunn/Getty Images)
By Champions Tour staff
• One week after winning the Toshiba Classic for the second time, Couples carded a 6-under-par 66 and enjoys a two-stroke lead over five players, including defending champion Michael Allen and rookie Jeff Maggert after the first round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Presented by C Spire. Couples made seven birdies, including a run of four straight midway through his first nine (holes 12-15).
• Couples enjoys a two-stroke lead, the largest first-round lead in tournament history. Last year, four players were tied for the first-round lead with 3-under 69. When he won at Fallen Oak in 2012, Couples enjoyed a one-stroke lead after an opening-round 63.
• Couples now has held sole possession of the first-round lead on the Champions Tour and that came at the 2012 Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Presented By C Spire where he went on to victory.
• Couples has won 10 times in his Champions Tour career, including last week when he birdied three of the last four holes to claim a second Toshiba Classic title. In 2010, Couples won consecutive events at the Toshiba event and the Cap Cana Championship.
• Couples’ 66 today was his 12th straight round in the 60s, dating back to the end of last year, one short of the all-time record of 13 by Hale Irwin in 1999. Couples has had 12 straight scores in the 60s previously (2010) but carded a 71 in the opening round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.
First-Round Leader Statistics
• Fairways Hit: 8/14—T62; Greens In Regulation: 16/18—T5; Putts: 29—T15
• So far this year on the Champions Tour, one of the first four first-round leaders/co-leaders has gone on to win the event (Michael Allen/Allianz Championship).
• In the previous four Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Presented By C Spire events, only one Friday leader has gone on to win the tournament (Fred Couples/2012).
• Three-time PGA TOUR winner Jeff Maggert made his debut on the Champions Tour today and posted a 4-under 68. Maggert turned 50 on February 20 to become eligible for the circuit. In addition to three PGA TOUR titles, Maggert won a pair of events on what is now the Web.com Tour in 1990, the circuit’s inaugural season, and was voted Player of the Year. The last player to win in his debut on the Champions Tour was Rocco Mediate at the 2013 Allianz Championship.
• World Golf Hall of Fame member Sir Nick Faldo made just his fourth career start on the Champions Tour and carded a 2-over 74. It was Faldo’s second appearance on the Champions Tour in the United States. Before today, Faldo played last fall at the SAS Championship but was forced to withdraw from the event after 12 holes in the opening round.
• Defending champion Michael Allen opened with 4-under 68 today, his ninth straight sub-par score at Fallen Oak. Allen is bidding to win multiple events in a season for the third straight year. Fred Couples has the best finish by a defending champion in tournament history, T12 in 2013.
• Jeff Sluman made his 83rd straight appearance on the Champions Tour and shot 2-under 70. Sluman has not missed an event since skipping the 2010 Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. Jay Don Blake’s streak of 62 straight appearances was snapped when he was forced to withdraw from the event on Thursday with a shoulder injury.
• Mark McNulty had the only bogey-free round today (70). Jay Haas’ run of bogey-free holes ended at 58 straight with a bogey at the par-4 5th hole today. Haas played all 54 holes last week at the Toshiba Classic without making a bogey.
• David Frost’s streak of holes without a three-putt increased to 255 in a row after he needed just 26 putts in Round 1 today, including one-putts on 10 holes.
• The Friday stroke average of 72.642 was the second-highest for an opening round in the Mississipp Gulf Resort Classic Presented By C Spire. There were 13 rounds in the 60s today compared to just four rounds in the 60s last year on Friday.
• The par-5 6th hole played as the easiest (4.617), yielding two eagles and 36 birdies. The par-4 2nd hole gave up only two birdies today (Michael Allen, Billy Andrade) and was the most difficult (4.469).
• There were five eagles made in Round 1 with two coming on par-4s (Wes Short, Jr/5th hole, Nick Price/4th hole).
• Wayne Levi withdrew before the round with a sore shoulder and was replaced by John Inman. Hal Sutton also withdrew before his round with a bad back and Mark Mouland took his place in the field.
• Jack Fleck, the 1955 U.S. Open champion and a veteran on the Champions Tour for 16 years, passed away today at the age of 92. Fleck died of natural causes at his home in Fort Smith, Ark.