March 07, 2011
Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
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.
Fred Couples returns to Newport Beach Country Club as the defending champion of the Toshiba Classic.
Couples posted the second of his three straight victories in early 2010 with a final-round 6-under 65. He shot rounds of 66-64-65 for a 4-stroke victory. The final round featured a 31 on the back nine.
Former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch will be making his Champions Tour debut in a field that includes Hall of Famer Lee Trevino in his only scheduled tournament appearance of the year.
Baker-Finch expects to play a "handful" of events around his schedule as a broadcaster/analyst at CBS.
|Power Rankings: Toshiba Classic|
| || ||Bernhard |
|Found his form to win The ACE Group Classic and when he's at his best, Langer is methodical and thorough. T17 last year at Toshiba despite a closing 65. No. 6 in Total Driving for a course that requires solid driving.|
| || ||Fred |
|Got his first look at Newport Beach CC last year and was dominant in victory. He ranked No. 1 driving distance (295.7 yards), No. 3 in putts per green in regulation (1.619) and tied for sixth in greens in regulation (77.8).|
| || ||Tom |
|To no one's surprise, has become a force on the Champions Tour with a second and first (Allianz Championship) in his two starts and added a T13 at Mayakoba on the PGA TOUR. Tops Charles Schwab Cup and Money lists.|
| || ||John |
|No. 2 behind Lehman on the Charles Schwab Cup and Money lists and No. 1 in Driving Accuracy at a sensational 88.1 percent. Cook is hitting greens at a 79.1 percentage.|
| || ||Corey |
|Tied for seventh last year (with Cook). He's another California boy (Oxnard/UCLA) who loves playing at home. His putter hasn't warmed up yet but his accuracy off the tee will put him in good stead on this track.|
The Champions Tour Power Rankings for the Toshiba Classic: