Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR
(From left) Mike Hill, Gary Player and Lee Trevino share a laugh prior to the first round of the Demaret Division at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf on Monday in Savannah, Ga. Their group, which also featured Jack Nicklaus, owns a combined 129 TOUR victories, 33 majors and 76 Champions Tour victories.
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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Click for gators, grimaces, and a gutty win by Billy Horschel in New Orleans
Check out the top five shots of the week from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf featuring Jason Dufner, Brad Faxon, Lucas Glover, Ken Looper and Billy Horschel.
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman won the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf after a Sunday no one would have expected.
Conditions were difficult for scoring at The Club at Savannah Harbor, so a final-round shootout never quite materialized. Faxon/Sluman shot 65 to win at 23 under, one better than Kenny Perry/Gene Sauers and Fred Funk/Mike Goodes, who both started well off the lead and teed off on the 10th hole in the split-tee final round.
In the previous four years, the winners shot 62 or better in the final round. Contrast that to Sunday, where Faxon/Sluman parred their last four holes.
Kirk Triplett and Craig Stadler were one shot back with two holes to play but couldn't get a birdie putt to fall on 17 and then bogeyed the par-4 18th, which didn't yield a birdie all day.
Second-round leaders Jay Don Blake and Roger Chapman shot 1 under and finished in a tie for 16th.
For Sluman, the win comes after two runner-up finishes in previous years with Stadler.
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The final groups on Sunday always have a bit of an advantage at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, seeing leaderboards and knowing exactly what they need to do.
But if they're watching right now, they'll find they have a lot to do.
A gaggle of teams that began a few shots back have got to 21 under midway through their second nines, such as the teams of Fred Couples/Jay Haas, Larry Mize/Hal Sutton and Steve Elkington/Rocco Mediate, while the leaders haven't made any noise early.
Second-round leaders Jay Don Blake and Roger Chapman made the turn at even par, with one bogey and one birdie, still at the 17 under number where they began the day. Their partners in the final group, Jim Gallagher Jr. and Scott Hoch, are just 2 under through nine holes (18 under), with a bogey on the ninth.
Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer, the 2009 champions that figured to be in the mix on Sunday, are only 1 under through 10 holes and 17 under overall.
Lehman speculated on Saturday that there could be a 59 or 60 at The Club at Savannah Harbor in the final round, but that is appearing unlikely. What's more likely may be a playoff.
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- So far this week at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, scores of 61 and 62 have been fired in the better-ball team format.
Expect a score like that, and maybe even something lower, to take the title on Sunday.
Jay Don Blake and Roger Chapman started the final round at 17 under but the lead will fluctuate all day as the birdies come from every corner of The Club at Savannah Harbor.
Fred Couples and Jay Haas, three back at the start of the round, have birdied four of their first five holes to get to 18 under. Mark Calcavecchia and Peter Senior, two back when they began, are also at 18 under after three early birdies.
"I think it's all set for somebody to shoot really low," said Tom Lehman, who with partner Bernhard Langer started the round one shot back. "I think there's a 60 out there, a 59, 61, obviously those are all possibilities and I think somebody may do that."
The winners have shot 62 or better in the final round each of the last four years.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The team of Jay Don Blake and Roger Chapman only birdied one of the four par 5s on Saturday at The Club at Savannah Harbor, which is usually a roadblock to going low a better-ball format.
But they cleaned up well everywhere else with 10 birdies on the other 14 holes, including a six-birdie streak on their second nine, shooting 61 to get to 17 under and the lead at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf.
"We were thinking par 5s, that's where you want to make some advantage, but we didn't do that," Blake said. "But you never know, we made (three) birdies on the par 3s, we'd hit it close from 225 yards to make birdie."
"You never know" is probably a safe label for Sunday, with five teams one shot behind the leaders. Among those are first-round leaders Jeff Sluman and Brad Faxon, who followed their opening 62 with a 66 that included a bogey on the 17th. Andy North and Tom Watson, winners in 2008, are also in the chasing group after a Saturday 64 that included two bogeys.
"There were enough birdies out there to satisfy us," Watson said. "It's going to be a shootout on Sunday, for sure. You've got to shoot 10 under or better to win."
Four groups are two back of the lead including the champions of the last two years, Michael Allen/David Frost and David Eger/Mark McNulty.
In the 36-hole Raphael Division, Ian Baker-Finch and Bart Bryant won on the third playoff hole over Keith Fergus and Blaine McCallister.
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Only one team got to 10 under in the first round at the breezy Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, but calmer conditions on Saturday could help some early teams to go even lower.
The team of Peter Jacobsen/D.A. Weibring began the day four shots behind the pace set in Round 1 by Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman, but moved to the top in the early going of Round 2. The team shot 29 on the back nine (starting on No. 10) and added a birdie at No. 2 to get to 14 under.
Scott Hoch and Jim Gallagher Jr. also started on No. 10 and shot 29 on the back nine, and are at 13 under in the better-ball format.
Faxon and Sluman birdied two of their first five holes and are at 12 under, tied with several teams including Bernhard Langer/Tom Lehman, the 2009 champions and the favorites coming into the week based on Langer's hot play this season.
The duo of 63-year-olds, Andy North and Tom Watson, didn't make a par until the sixth hole in Round 2. They birdied the first two, bogeyed No. 3, then birdied the next two holes. They are three shots back at 11 under.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Brad Faxon says he has a recurring dream about playing with longtime friend Jeff Sluman for 54 holes and not helping him on a single one.
He can sleep easy on Friday night.
Faxon contributed seven birdies midway through the first round at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf while Sluman cleaned up the start and finish, and the end product was a 10-under 62 in the team format, good for a one-shot lead at The Club at Savannah Harbor.
Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman, winners of the last three Schwab Cups and the 2009 Liberty Mutual champions, are one shot back at 9 under. Tom Watson and Andy North, the 2008 champions, are two shots back along with the teams of Craig Stadler/Kirk Triplett and Tom Kite/Gil Morgan.
"We did a good job today of getting both balls in play, and a lot of holes we had two putts for birdie on," Faxon said. "The back nine got pretty windy and out of a different direction than I think we're used to seeing the course play and we capitalized (for) 6 under on the back, which we thought was a pretty good score."
Faxon's putter was key, as it always is when he plays well. Sluman found himself talking on a loop.
"All I kept saying was good putt, great putt. Another one, another one goes in the dead center," Sluman said. "For me, it's actually a great thing to watch, it looked like every putt's got a chance.
Faxon and Sluman finished tied for third a year ago at 27 under, two shots behind the winning duo of Michael Allen and David Frost.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Craig Stadler's health and game haven't been up to where they once were on the Champions Tour. But on Friday, armed with a new partner at the birdie-friendly Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, the Walrus was atop a leaderboard again.
Stadler, less than two months shy of 60, and 51-year-old Kirk Triplett teamed up for an 8-under 64 in the two-man team game, good for the early clubhouse lead. Both golfers play their ball and the best score counts on each hole.
Triplett had the hot putter in the group and Stadler called himself "the supporting cast," but that can sometimes be the case in the unique format. The bottom line was eight birdies and no bogeys at The Club at Savannah Harbor.
Triplett wasn't eligible for the event a year ago, while Stadler tied for 25th with Mike Goodes. Stadler hasn't won on the Champions Tour since a five-win 2004 season.
"I'm still competitive, I still think I can play. But I need to be more consistent," Stadler said. "With that comes four years of not competing very well, and not being as confident as I used to be. I have to work that back, I can't just get it overnight by hitting a couple of good shots."
Stadler, plagued by several years of health issues, said he isn't healthy enough to walk courses every day. But flat courses help, and Savannah fits that bill.
Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman won the 2009 Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf and are teammates again. (Martin/Getty Images)
Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer took some time to answer fan questions today from the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf. You can see their answers below.
Langer: No, I never went that far. I've learned over the years to not get ahead of yourself because that's the worst thing you can do as an athlete. I've done that the very first time I led a golf tournament, I was leading the Irish Open and I was thinking, oh, how much money are you going to make, what are you going to do with it, what are you going to say at the prize giving, and three holes later I wasn't leading anymore. So that was a very expensive but a good lesson, and ever since then I'm trying to avoid those thoughts. I know there's a lot of golf to be played and try to stay in the present and not in the future, not get ahead of myself. So I didn't have any of those thoughts, I was just playing every hole and just playing as good as I could.
Question: If you could be paired with any golfer, living or dead, who would it be and why? (From Facebook: Valerie Brideau)
Langer: Well, I would choose Ben Hogan because I never had the pleasure to play Ben Hogan. I actually never met him. I played with many of the greats. I had the pleasure of seeing Gene Sarazen and Arnie and Jack and Tiger and Byron Nelson, but never had the pleasure of playing or meeting Ben Hogan.
Lehman: I would have to say, we'll keep it to Fort Worth, that would be Byron Nelson. That would be a fun match.
Question: Bernhard, what do you think of most when you're putting -- aim, distance, speed; and do you use any sort of putting aid? (From Facebook: Terry Ernstad)
Langer: I use the line on the ball for aim because when I don't have the line, my eyes are not very good. Because we're not looking straight down the line, we're looking sideways and I have a tendency to aim left, so that line on the ball helps me a little bit. And I have a line on the putter so when I line these two up, it gives me good visual, plus it gives me the knowledge when I stand over the putt, I'm aligned good now so all I now have to focus on is proper speed. So when I putt, I'm really thinking of making a stroke that has the right speed for the line I picked. Before I had those lines on the putter and the ball, I was often concerned, oh, are you lining correctly or not, and then I was thinking about lining up and forgot to hit it or something like that.
Question: When you find your timing and/or rhythm in question... what do you do to get it back? (From Facebook: Marty Mash)
Lehman: I tend to not get that way very often, although I used to. I think I used to get that way because I would hit so many drivers on the practice tee. I think everybody learns their own little way. Some guys, they love to hit drivers and long irons on the practice range. I find when I do that, I start swinging harder and harder and harder and my rhythm gets off. When I practice, I hit 90 percent of my shots with wedges or maybe a 9 iron at the most, mostly sand wedges or pitching wedges, to find the rhythm of my swing. I feel if I can hit a wedge solid, I'm going to hit my driver solid. If my rhythm is good with my wedge, it's going to be good with my driver. I very seldom struggle on the course with my rhythm. But if I do there's just a few things. First thing is relaxing your arms, your shoulders, your hands, so I try to take a very, very soft grip on the club and really relax my arms so I don't take it away, snatch it away right off the bat. The first two feet away from the ball is usually where you mess it up. If you get it moving smoothly away from the ball, chances are you're going to have a more successful shot.