Power Rankings: Regions TraditionJune 03, 2013
By Vartan Kupelian, Champions Tour Insider
Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.
Tom Lehman goes after an unprecedented third straight victory in the Regions Tradition this week at Shoal Creek.
Lehman shot a final-round 68 last year to claim a soggy triumph over Bernhard Langer and Chien Soon Lu. With the victory, Lehman joined Jack Nicklaus, Gil Morgan and Fred Funk as the only players to win the Regions Tradition more than once.
Nicklaus and Morgan won back-to-back titles, with Nicklaus doing it twice. Nicklaus won in 1990 and 1991, and achieved the double again in 1995 and 1996. Morgan won his successive titles in 1997 and 1998. Funk won in 2008 and 2010.
Lu made birdies on four of the final nine holes to mount his challenge last year. Lu also was runner-up at the Tradition in 2010.
The Regions Tradition is the second of five major championships on the Champions Tour. Kohki Idoki opened the major campaign by winning the Senior PGA Championship two weeks ago.
This week’s Power Rankings for the Regions Tradition:
Power Rankings: Regions Tradition Rank Player Comment Russ COCHRAN He’s coming off a victory at the Principal Charity Classic and shared the lead after each of the first two rounds a year ago at Shoal Creek, where he finished T5. The Principal Charity was his fourth career win on the Champions Tour. Tom LEHMAN The two-time defending champion finished T7 at the Principal Charity Classic, his fourth top 10 in six individual events. His best finish this year was a runner-up at the recent Greater Gwinnett, which means he’s warming to the task of defending his title. Fred COUPLES He returns to the Champions Tour after out-playing and outscoring Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy – No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively - at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Couples closed with a tournament-low 65 last year at Shoal Creek to finish fourth. Michael ALLEN This year’s winner of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic has an outstanding record in the Tradition. He tied for ninth in 2012, was fourth in 2011 and tied for second in 2010. Plus, he’s coming off a top 10 at the Principal Charity Classic. Bernhard LANGER The Charles Schwab Cup points leader and two-time winner in ’13 has had trouble getting out of the gate. He’s had three straight rocky starts and they have cost him dearly. But he’s always a threat.