Funk, Sluman win at Big Cedar Lodge
June 08, 2014
By Brian Wright, PGATOUR.COM
- Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman made five birdies en route to a final round bogey-free 48 at Big Cedar Lodge. (Chris Condon/Getty Images)
RIDGEDALE, Mo. – It was the perfect setting for something quite historic.
Top of the Rock Golf Course, overlooking spectacular Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, hosted the first official Champions Tour money event on a par-3, nine-hole course on Sunday.
And the event turned out to be nothing short of a hole-in-one.
“There are no comparisons,” Fred Funk said of Top of the Rock. “There’s nothing like this anywhere else in the world. The amount of money spent to build this, nobody’s going to do that. It’s unbelievable, Johnny’s (Morris) passion for his community and just the will to want to do something like this.”
Funk, along with team partner Jeff Sluman, won the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shop event, but not without a little heroics on the last hole.
Funk and Sluman needed par on the final hole for the win. After Funk missed his par putt, Sluman faced a 6-footer for the win.
“On No. 9, I needed to two-putt from, it seemed like Arkansas,” Sluman said. “I gave myself a little room on the left side and ran it by about 6 feet. Then I made the putt coming back.”
In the alternate shot format on the front nine, Funk and Sluman played steady, carding eight pars and a lone birdie to make the turn at 15-under. Peter Jacobsen and Jay Haas struggled on the opening nine with three bogeys and two birdies to make the turn at 1-over par, one shot back of Funk and Sluman.
In the best-ball format, Funk and Sluman played the final nine holes at 5-under. They shot the low round of the day at 6-under par.
Haas and Jacobsen birdied five of the last nine holes to make it interesting but fell one shot short of a playoff with Funk and Sluman.
“Playing against Jay and Peter today, Jay’s had a remarkable year this year,” Sluman said. “For us to come out on top and beat him the way he’s played this year is something. When you can beat Jay you’re going to be in pretty good position.”
Haas and Jacobsen were disappointed, but happy with their second place finish.
“We hung in there,” Jacobsen said. “It’s just a pleasure to play with Jay and watch him play. He’s one of the best players we’ve ever seen in the history of the Champions Tour.”
Craig Stadler and Kirk Triplett shot a final round 2-under par 52 and finished in third place at 14-under. They were the only group without a bogey for the week.
A team of Kentuckians, Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry, shot one of the best rounds of the day at 5-under to finish at 13-under par.
In the Legends competition, Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe won with a score of 11-under. Colbert won the Legends division last year with Bob Murphy who did not play this year.
“We really won the tournament on No. 8 yesterday (Saturday),” Colbert said. “I hit a 3-hybrid, 18 degree, that I can hit maybe 200 yards if I kill it. But the wind was blowing hard.”
Colbert hit his tee shot to about 4 feet and Thorpe made the putt.
“It had to be the shot of the tournament,” Thorpe said. “We made a 2 on that hole and the group playing with us made a 4.”
On Sunday, Colbert and Thorpe made five birdies and just one bogey to cruise to victory.
“This guy (Colbert) has so much fire, so much fight in him, all I had to do was hold on,” said Thorpe. “He played rock solid. Jimmy made four birdies today.”
Sunday’s final round was a nine-hole better ball format at the par-3 Top of the Rock course. Bruce Fleisher and Larry Nelson, leaders after Friday’s opening round, finished three shots back at 8-under. They entered the day tied with Colbert and Thorpe. They had one birdie on the day.
The team of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player finished six shots back at 5-under par. There were 11 teams in the Legends competition.
Dale Douglass had the only hole-in-one in either division of the tournament. He aced No. 2, playing 98-yards, with a sand wedge on Sunday.
Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman are the big winnners at Big Cedar Lodge