Round 2 Notes: Montreal Championship

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July 02, 2011
Dave Senko, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Mostly sunny and warm with highs in the low-to-mid 80s. Winds were from the SW at 5-15 mph.

• Chien Soon Lu shot his lowest round ever on the Champions Tour, a 9-under-par 63, and heads into Sunday's final round with a one-stroke edge on John Cook. Lu has a 36-hole total of 16-under-par 128, the best 36-hole score of his career and a tournament record.

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• Chien Soon Lu has never led a Champions Tour event heading into the final round in any of his previous 30 starts prior to this event. He was T2 in a pair of 2010 events after 36 holes (Toshiba Classic and the AT&T Championship) and eventually finished T3 in each one.

• Chien Soon Lu's best outing this year was a T12 at the Regions Tradition in Alabama in May. His best career effort was a T2 at the 2010 JELD-WEN Tradition in Oregon.

• Here are Chien Soon Lu's statistics through two rounds. Fairways Hit -- 21 of 28 (75.0%/T51) Greens in Regulation -- 31 of 36 (86.1%/T11) Putts Per Round -- 26.0/T1 Driving Distance -- 282.8/10

• Playing in the Montreal area seems to bring out the best in John Cook. The former Ohio State star and 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR, was the 36-hole leader at this tournament a year ago before finishing second when Larry Mize closed with an 8-under-par 64 to nip Cook by one stroke.

John Huston finds himself in a similar position to where he was a week ago. Huston trailed Mark Wiebe by two strokes after two rounds at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open before a closing-round 7-under-par 65 led to a three-stroke win in just his third start on the Champions Tour. Huston is currently third at 14-under-par 130.

• The field went low again on Saturday, averaging 68.747 for the day, a slight drop from Friday's average of 68.911. Once again, 69 players in the 79-man field finished under par with 50 rounds in the 60s, one more than in the first round.

Phil Blackmar matched his career low round on the Champions Tour with an 8-under-par 64. He jumped from T34 to T8. It was a good week for the Texan. His son, Mark, signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles after the O's drafted him in the 10thround last month.

• So far in 2011, only four of 12 second/third-round leaders/co-leaders has gone on to win the event. The last to do so was John Cook at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am where he defeated Jay Don Blake with a birdie on the first extra hole.

• A day after the competitors racked up 369 birdies and six eagles in the opening round, the totals in each category went up on Saturday. There were 376 birdies and 14 eagles, including a dozen on No. 7.

• There is an outside chance the field could break the all-time Champions Tour record for birdies in a 54-hole event. Last month there were 1,147 total birdies in regulation at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. The field has 745 through two rounds and will need to make 403 on Sunday to break that record.

• As a point of comparison, in 2010 at this tournament there were 114 rounds under par through two rounds compared to 138 this year. The 36-hole total for birdies was 661 compared to 745 this year.

Jeff Sluman is the only player without a bogey through 36 holes.

John Huston and Scott Simpson have 19 one-putts after two rounds to lead all players.

• Hole No. 7 has easily been the easiest hole so far with an average score of 4.228 (-.772). There have been 15 eagles and 94 birdies. The most difficult has been No. 6 with an average score of 3.139 (+.139).

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