Second-round notebook: History's on Price's side

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May 31, 2008
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- So far in 2008, only five of 13 events have been won by the second- or third-round leader/co-leader on the Champions Tour.

However, in its brief history, The Principal Charity Classic has seen its second-round leader enjoy great success with five of seven second-round leaders/co-leaders going on to win. Jim Thorpe (2001), Don Pooley (2003), D.A. Weibring (2004), Gil Morgan (2006) and Jay Haas (2007) were 36-hole leaders who were victorious. Bob Gilder (2002) and Tom Jenkins (2005) each came from two strokes off the pace Sunday to win.

Second-round leader Nick Price's statistics through two rounds
Stat Price's performance Percentage Rank
Fairways Hit 20 of 28 71.4% T52
Greens in Regulation 29 of 36 80.6% T3
Putts Per Round 29.0 -- T24
Driving Distance 284.0 -- T17

For the second time in the last four Champions Tour events, Nick Price will begin Sunday's final round with the lead. Price held a two-stroke advantage at the FedEx Kinko's Classic near Austin earlier this month. He eventually finished tied for second, one stroke behind Denis Watson.

Nick Price is seeking his first victory since the 2002 MasterCard Colonial, a stretch of six years, 13 days.

Nick Price, Bob Gilder and Mark O'Meara shared honors for the day's low round, 5-under-par 66s.

• Mark O'Meara's 5-under-par 66 was instrumental in his move from tied for 47th on Friday to tied for eighth after two rounds, and Gilder's 66 moved him up from tied for 57th on Friday to a tie for 13th.

Lonnie Nielsen, who is currently tied for second, is bidding to become the first player to win an event in his native state since Scott Simpson won the 2006 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

• A total of 18 players will begin the final round within three shots of second-round leader Nick Price. Among those chasing Price is 2007 champion Jay Haas (tied for eighth/two strokes behind).

Andy Bean leads all players with 12 birdies, two more than Mike Hulbert. Bobby Wadkins and Kirk Hanefeld have each made just one bogey in the event.

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The winner of this year's Principal Charity Classic will receive 259 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Through last week's Senior PGA Championship, Bernhard Langer leads the race with 1,413 points, but Jay Haas closed the gap with his victory in Rochester and double points to just one point and now has 1,412 points. Scott Hoch is third with 1,026 points followed by Denis Watson and Tom Watson with 669 and 633 points, respectively.

Hole No. 17 (4.346/+.346) was the most difficult on Friday, but No. 12 took the honors on Saturday. The field averaged 4.410 (+.410) on No. 12, while No. 17 averaged 4.256 (+.256). There were just four birdies on No. 12 and five on No. 17 on Saturday. However, 26 golfers made a bogey on No. 12 and there were also five triples. No. 17 saw 19 bogeys and three triples. The easiest hole was No. 9 once again.

The scoring average was 71.179 on Saturday, just a shade lower than Friday's average of 71.231. A total of 35 players finished below par, one more than on Friday. Andy Bean, David Eger, and Mike Hulbert are the only players with a pair of rounds in the 60s.

Kirk Hanefeld, who is currently tied for second, earned a berth in this week's field via open qualifying. He could be in line for his best showing in 26 starts on the Champions Tour. Hanefeld was tied for third after two rounds at this tournament in 2006 before a final-round 72 left him tied for sixth, his best finish ever. The last open qualifier to win an event was Pete Oakley at the 2004 Senior British Open.

Defending champion Jay Haas could become the third back-to-back winner on the Champions Tour this year, joining Scott Hoch and Tom Watson with that distinction. He is tied for eighth.

Walter Hall withdrew following Saturday's second round with a wrist injury.

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