Greater Hickory Classic: Second-round notebook

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September 13, 2008
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

• R.W. Eaks will be bidding for his fourth career Champions Tour title and second of the 2008 season. A multiple winner last year, Eaks won the 3M Championship near Minneapolis earlier this season. There have already been eight players win a pair of tournaments on the 2008 Champions Tour and Eaks could join that list with a second consecutive victory at Rock Barn tomorrow. A second straight victory at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn would also allow him to successfully defend a title for the first time in his TOUR career.

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Tom Jenkins is shooting for his eighth career victory on the Champions Tour tomorrow and his second consecutive title in North Carolina. His last victory came at the 2006 SAS Championship in Raleigh. Should Jenkins win tomorrow, he would be the oldest player to claim a Champions Tour title in 2008 and would be the first player over 60 years of age to win since a 60-year-old Gil Morgan won last year's Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach. In the history of the Champions Tour, 17 of 873 official tournaments have been won by players over age 60.

• Eaks and Jenkins will play in the final Sunday grouping for the second time this year. Eaks was in the last grouping at the 3M Championship with Gene Jones and Loren Roberts and went on to win by six shots. Jenkins was in the final grouping with Scott Hoch and Nick Price at the ACE Group Classic in February and eventually lost out to Hoch on the first hole of a playoff. Jenkins and Eaks last played together in the final grouping on Sunday at the 2005 SAS Championship.

• In the first 23 Champions Tour events this year, 11 Saturday leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win on Sunday. In the first five Greater Hickory Classics at Rock Barn, each of the last two champions, Andy Bean (2006) and R.W. Eaks (2007) led after 36 holes and went on to win.

• Both R.W. Eaks and Tom Jenkins equaled the tournament's 36-hole record, originally established by Eaks in 2007 (15-under-par 129). Here's a quick glance at the lowest 36-hole totals for each co-leader in their Champions Tour careers:

Lowest 36-hole totals for each co-leader
Player Score Tournament Eventual Finish
Eaks 128 (-16) 2008 3M Championship 1st
  129 (-15) 2008 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn ?
  129 (-15) 2007 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn 1st
  131 (-11) 2007 Toshiba Classic 2nd
Jenkins 129 (-15) 2008 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn ?
  130 (-10) 2001 Kroger Senior Classic 2nd
  130 (-10) 1999 RJR Championship T6
  131 (-9) 2005 Boeing Championship at Sandestin T3
  131 (-11) 2002 AT&T Canada Senior Open 1st

• The winner of the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn will earn 255 points in the Charles Schwab Cup race. R.W. Eaks currently stands in 31st place with 312 points and Tom Jenkins is in 27th position. Jay Haas currently is the Schwab Cup leader with 2,145 points and can pad his lead over Bernhard Langer (2,047) with a top-10 finish tomorrow. Haas is currently tied for 10th in this week's event. Schwab Cup points are awarded on a weekly basis for top-10 finishes and at the end of the official season, the player earning the most Charles Schwab Cup points will collect a $1 million payout.

Gil Morgan's 6-under 66 today gives him 15 consecutive sub-par rounds on the Jones course at Rock Barn. Dana Quigleys' 1-under 71 extended his streak of sub-par rounds at Rock Barn to 12 straight. Morgan's best finish in this event is a tied for fifth last year. Quigley's never finished worse than a tie for 14th in this event (2004), placing second in 2005 and fourth in 2006.

• The cumulative scoring average for the field after 36 holes this year is 71.173 (70.795 yesterday, 71.551 today). Last year through 36 holes, the field average was 70.936. Through 36 holes this year, there have been 49 rounds in the 60s compared to 45 sub-70 scores last year. This year through 36 holes, there have been just nine eagles by nine different players along with 568 birdies. In the 2007 event after 36 holes, there were 607 birdies made along with 13 eagles.

• Through 36 holes this year, the par-3 17th hole has played as the hardest (3.218), yielding 17 birdies over two days. Last year after two rounds, the par-4 11th hole played as the most difficult (4.269), yielding just 13 birdies.

• Through 36 holes this year, four players (Jim Albus, David Edwards, Kirk Hanefeld, Tom McKnight) have hit all 28 fairways...Tom Jenkins has missed just two greens in regulation...Joe Ozaki has needed just 52 putts...Steve Thomas is averaging 289.5 yards off the tee.

Tom Jenkins has now gone 106 holes without a three-putt. He last three-putted on the second hole of the final round of the Boeing Classic outside of Seattle.

• 2006 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn champion Andy Bean and Nick Price both posted 5-under-par 67s and jumped 38 spots in the standings into a tie for 21st, the biggest moves of the day. Bean had his clubs stolen from his car on Tuesday night and flew back to his home in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday to retrieve a putter. Another set of clubs was shipped to him overnight on Wednesday.

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