Russ Cochran birdied the final four holes to win his second SAS Championship in the last four years. It was Cochran’s second victory this season, following his win at the Principal Charity Classic, and he becomes the seventh multiple winner on the Champions Tour this year. Cochran’s four straight birdies to close his round marked the first time a player had made four straight to win an event since Mark Calcavecchia birdied the final three holes and then the first playoff hole to win the 2011 Boeing Classic. The other player in that playoff was Russ Cochran.
Larry Nelson’s first-round 6-under-par 66 at last week’s SAS Championship allowed him to match his age for the first time in his Champions Tour career.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Nick Faldo, making his initial Champions Tour start in the United States, was forced to withdraw from last week’s SAS Championship after 12 holes with an elbow injury. He was 1-over-par at the time. Faldo did make an eagle on the par-4, fifth hole.
Simon Brown won the second European Senior Tour title of his rookie season at the Dutch Senior Open, where heavy rain and flooding caused the final round to be cancelled, reducing the tournament to 36 holes.
Fifty-year-old Vijay Singh was runner-up at last week’s Frys.com Open on the PGA TOUR while Bob Tway’s son, Kevin, finished T40 in his first TOUR event as a full member. Champions Tour professionals Fred Funk and Rocco Mediate missed the cut.
Fred Funk is the defending champion of this week’s Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn Golf & Spa. Craig Stadler, who won the first Greater Hickory Kia Classic in 2003, remains the only major champion to capture the title in the tournament’s 11-year history.
Fred Funk won last year’s Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn without making a bogey. It marked the second Champions Tour event he’s won without a blemish. In 2007, Funk went bogey free in claiming the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii.
Due to the extensive damage caused by nine inches of torrential rain in just three hours on Saturday, July 27, the Greater Hickory Kia Classic will use a reconfigured golf course for this week’s event. A combination of the Jones Course and the Jackson Course at Rock Barn Golf & Spa will be called the ‘Champions Course’. The back nine holes of Jackson will serve as the front nine of the Champions Course, and holes one through six and 16 through 18 of the Jones will be played as the back nine of the Champions Course. Multiple holes on the Jones were under several feet of water requiring the third and fifth greens to be completely rebuilt. Also, a damaged vehicle/pedestrian bridge on the Jones was unable to be repaired in time for the tournament. This year’s Champions Course will play to a par-70 versus the par-72 layout of the Jones Course that has been used for the first 10 years.
Bob Gilder will become the 16th player to start in 1,000 combined events on the PGA TOUR/Champions Tour when he tees off at this week’s Greater Hickory Kia Classic. Here’s a list of players who have reached, or are near this milestone.
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP
Kenny Perry remains atop the Charles Schwab Cup standings with 2,760 points. Bernhard Langer finished T8 at last week’s SAS Championship, picking up 60 points, and remains second with 2,151 points, 609 behind Perry. David Frost is third with 1,971 points.
With the maximum points available for winners of the final three tournaments this season (and allowing for the 48 points available to the last-place finisher at the season-ending event), just five players remain with a mathematical chance to claim the Charles Schwab Cup – Kenny Perry, Bernhard Langer, David Frost, Duffy Waldorf and Fred Couples.
1,147 – The all-time record most number of birdies recorded in a 54-hole Champions Tour tournament is 1,147 which occurred at the 2011 Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
ON THIS DATE
10/16/88 – Corey Pavin becomes the fifth player in PGA TOUR history to break 260 when he shoots a 21-under-par 259 to capture the Texas Open by eight strokes over Robert Wrenn.
10/19/97 – Hale Irwin collects his ninth title of the season, tying Peter Thomson’s record set in 1985, when he wins the Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic.
DID YOU KNOW?
Each past champion of the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn receives one of golf’s unique prizes -- The Kennedy Rocker, from the P& P/Troutman Chair Company.
QUOTES TO NOTE
"It's such a hard tournament to win, especially from the lead because you know everyone is back there firing at the hole.” – Russ Cochran comments after claiming his second SAS Championship title in the last four years.
“It's a great place to be able to play golf. If you are not on your game, you are going to get crushed out here.” – Rocco Mediate comments on the Champions Tour.
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