By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
Weather: Unseasonably cool and overcast in the morning giving way to partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Temperatures only reached the upper 60s with winds from the WNW at 10-15 mph in the morning decreasing to 5-10 mph in the afternoon.
-- Russ Cochran outlasted Jay Don Blake for his fourth career victory on the Champions Tour, despite a three-putt bogey at No. 16. that originally seemed to damage his chances for victory. Cochran’s bogey dropped him into a tie with Blake and he made a clutch two-putt par from 50 feet at the par-3 17th to remain tied. But as Cochran was walking up to the 18th green, Blake three-putted from 50 feet at No. 17 and suddenly Cochran had the lead for good. After Cochran made par to finish his round, he then watched as Blake’s birdie bid from eight feet to tie at the final hole slid just right of the cup. Midway through the final round, Blake appeared to be riding the momentum after making six birdies in a nine-hole stretch to briefly seize the lead from Cochran. However, Cochran birdied the par-5 13th hole from 12 feet to move back into a tie with Blake. Blake’s undoing down the stretch was his inability to birdie either of the par-5s on the back nine, missing a two-footer on the 13th hole and then failing to get up and down from the greenside bunker for birdie at No. 15.
With His Victory – Russ Cochran
-- He wins his fourth career victory on the Champions Tour in his 86th start.
-- He becomes the ninth different winner on the circuit in 2013 of the 10 official events that have been played.
-- He wins The Principal Charity Classic in his fourth appearance in the tournament. Cochran’s
previous-best performance in the Principal event was a T5 in 2010.
-- He earns 263 Charles Schwab Cup points and moves into sixth place in the season-long race
with 550 total points on the season.
-- Victory today is his first win since the 2011 Senior British Open Championship (7/24/11) and
ends a victory drought of 35 tournaments or 1 year, 10 months, 9 days.
-- Cochran’s 11-under-par 205 total was the highest winning score at The Principal Charity Classic since Mark McNulty won the 2009 event in a playoff after shooting 10-under 203 at Glen Oaks Country Club.
-- Cochran’s opening-round 71 was the highest start by a winner in tournament history. He became the first player to shoot any round in the 70s and win The Principal Charity Classic since Jay Haas in 2008 and just the fourth winner ever (D.A. Weibring/2004, Tom Jenkins/2005, Jay Haas/2008).
-- Cochran came from two strokes back to win, the sixth time in the 13-year history of The Principal Charity Classic that a player has rallied from two strokes off the pace – 2002 (Bob Gilder), 2005 (Tom Jenkins), 2008 (Jay Haas), 2009 (Mark McNulty), 2011 (Bob Gilder).
-- After his victory, Cochran announced he was donating five special-needs bicycles to Variety – The Childrens Charity from his winnings. Each of the bikes costs between $1,500-$3,000.
-- Defending champion Jay Haas carded a final-round 68 but finished T7 in his bid to win a fourth Principal Charity Classic title. It marked the first time Haas recorded a top-10 finish in Des Moines and didn’t win the tournament.
-- Former European Ryder Cup captain and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam recorded his career-best finish in a stroke-play event on the Champions Tour when he T7 this week in Des Moines. Woosnam teamed with Sandy Lyle to finish T3 in the 2008 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a better-ball event on the Champions Tour. His previous-best at stroke-play was a T8 in the 2010 Senior British Open Championship.
-- Joel Edwards birdied his final three holes to post a 6-under 66, the low round of the day, and it more than likely earned him a spot in the upcoming Encompass Championship in Chicago later this month. Champions Tour regulations allow the highest non-exempt player to finish among the top 10 to earn a spot into the next co-sponsored non-major tournament on the Champions Tour. Even though Edwards was tied with both Ian Woosnam and open qualifier Doug Garwood, he edged them out based on having the low Sunday score.
-- Doug Garwood’s first-ever start on the Champions Tour was productive. A veteran of the Web.com Tour with 95 starts on the circuit, Garwood turned 50 on March 31st this year and open qualified for The Principal Charity Classic by shooting 67 at the Tournament Club of Iowa on Tuesday. He parlayed a spot in this week’s field into a T7 finish, earning $45,281.
-- The par-72 Wakonda Club played to a field average of 72.577 (+.577) in its first year as the venue for The Principal Charity Classic. It was the highest scoring average in a Principal Charity Classic since 2004 when the par-71 Glen Oaks Country Club course in West Des Moines played to a stroke average of 72.797 (+1.797). There were 12 eagles made this year and 707 total birdies. Last year at Glen Oaks, there were 19 eagles made and 790 total birdies.