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.
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are partners in this week's Champions Tour event in Savannah, Ga. (Squire/Getty Images)
|Click here for latest scores from the Demaret Division at Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf|
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Jack Nicklaus made 594 starts on the PGA TOUR during his illustrious career, and another 84 starts in Champions Tour events. He seemingly has played in every golfing community in America ... except for Savannah, Ga.
This week, he gets to cross that city off the list, as he teams up with another legend, Gary Player, to participate in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf.
Nicklaus and Player are paired in the Demaret Division two-man team competition that takes place Monday and Tuesday at the Club at Savannah Harbor.
"I have no history of playing in Savannah, and I have no expectations," Nicklaus said during Masters week, prior to joining Player and Arnold Palmer for the ceremonial opening tee shot.
Player is usually paired with Bob Charles, but last year Charles couldn't make it. So Player partnered with Simon Hobday. When Nicklaus heard about the switch, he told Player, "I wish you'd asked me. ... I would love to play with you."
Player replied, "Well, you'll play next year."
As he finished recalling the story, Nicklaus added with a laugh, "I should have kept my mouth shut."
That's because Nicklaus hadn't played golf in a month and said that he's "not taking a golf tournament serious. I don't play golf anymore. I play occasionally if I have to."
But he added, "Gary and I will have a good time. We'll have fun."
Player has a different outlook. He's focused on winning.
Player and Charles won the Demaret Division twice; last year, he and Hobday finished fifth, six strokes behind winners Gibby Gilbert and J.C. Snead.
"I'm very happy to play with Jack," Player said. "Obviously we've gone up together and have a lot of respect for each other, but I'm not doing it for fun. I want to win."
MONDAY TEE TIMES - Demaret Division
|11 a.m. ET||Gibby Gilbert/J.C. Snead||Jim Albus/Jim Dent|
|11:10 a.m. ET||Jack Nicklaus/Gary Player||Mike Hill/Lee Trevino|
|11:20 a.m. ET||Bruce Devlin/Larry Mowry||Charles Coody/Dale Douglass|
|11:30 a.m. ET||Butch Baird/Larry Laoretti||Don Bies/Tom Shaw|
|11:40 a.m. ET||Jim Colbert/Bob Murphy||Al Geiberger/Jimmy Powell|
|11:50 a.m. ET||Frank Beard/Larry Ziegler||Don January/Gene Littler|
|Noon ET||Miller Barber/Jim Ferree||Homero Blancas/Bobby Nichols|
|12:10 p.m. ET||Tommy Aaron/Lou Graham||Tommy Jacobs/Johnny Pott|
|12:20 p.m. ET||Dow Finsterwald/Bob Goalby||Jack Fleck/Bob Toski|
|12:30 p.m. ET||Doug Ford/Billy Maxwell||Billy Casper/Ken Still|
|12:40 p.m. ET||Lee Elder/Doug Sanders||Fred Hawkins/Howie Johnson|
David Frost is the only player with five top-10 finishes in the first five Champions Tour starts in 2013, including a win at the Toshiba Classic.
The second-ranked player in Charles Schwab Cup Points added another feat to his 2013 resume, as he became the first Champions Tour player to interact live on a video chat with fans through a Google+ Hangout.
Frost hit on a variety of topics, from his favorite wines being made by other pros to the memorable time he spent on the range with Ben Hogan. Check it out below.
Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington, like many Australians, sweated out Adam Scott's win.
(Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Mark Williams, Champions Tour staff
Champions Tour rookie Steve Elkington broke out one Australian icon to celebrate another following Adam Scott’s playoff victory over Argentina's Angel Cabrera at the Masters Tournament. Scott became the first Australian to win at Augusta National, which will surely elevate him to iconic status in his native land. After all, it’s not often the conclusion of a sporting event stops an entire nation, including its leader, Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
“I opened a bottle of 1986 Grange Hermitage, one of the best bottles of all time,” said Elkington, himself a major champion at the 1995 PGA Championship. “I’d been saving it up for a special occasion.”
Asked if he shared it with anyone, Elkington said, “No. Just me, with a big steak. It’s a big shiraz red, one of the most famous bottles from Australia. Very sought after. It would be one of the great wines of the world.”
However, the result was in doubt until the playoff ended and it had Elkington on the edge of his seat before he could open the wine and savor it.
“Cabrera’s shot on 18, that to me was one of the greatest shots I’ve ever seen, and all of a sudden it looked like we (Australian’s) might not have the Masters,” Elkington said. “That drama, and Jim Nantz making it clear on the CBS coverage how strongly Australian’s thought about the elusive victory at Augusta National, and Adam referring to Greg (Norman) as a pioneer – it was all great.”
“I’ve known Adam for a long time and I didn’t think he would be able to come back from last year to be honest,” added Elkington, referring to Scott’s meltdown over the final four holes to lose the 2012 British Open to Ernie Els. “They say the average age of major winner is 32. Adam is 32. I was 32 when I won my major.”
According to Elkington the final piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle is now complete.
“An Australian hadn’t won the Masters, it was the only major missing for us, but Adam’s win almost completes a bigger ‘Slam.' Australians have won almost every event on almost every Tour – the World Cup, World Amateur Championship, the LPGA majors. It’s an incredible achievement for a small country.”
Elkington called his parents who live on the Gold Coast in Australia, not far from where Scott hails, to celebrate over the phone, but his Dad had already headed down to the local golf club to celebrate with friends, something most of Australia’s 22 million inhabitants likely did as well.
Check out the shots of the week from the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank and the Toshiba Classic, featuring Luke Donald, Mark O'Meara, Dicky Pride, Kevin Streelman and Webb Simpson.