SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Starting 11 shots out of the lead on Sunday, Bernhard Langer’s chances of winning the Charles Schwab Cup Championship are virtually zero.
But the season-long points race isn’t out of the question, not the way he has started his final round at Desert Mountain.
The 2010 Schwab Cup champion birdied the third and fourth hole at the Cochise Course to get to 8 under, but more importantly into a tie for seventh on the leaderboard. The closer he gets to Tom Lehman – provided Lehman does not take his third-round lead to the finish line – the better chance he has of winning the season-long prize.
Langer came into the week 211 points in front of Lehman, but there’s plenty of volatility at the season finale with double points at stake. If Lehman finishes second and Langer can climb into solo or a two-way tie for fourth – and he’s three shots behind fourth at the moment – Langer takes the $1 million prize.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – There’s one round yet to play, but the engraver may be able to start etching Tom Lehman’s name on the Schwab Cup for the second consecutive year.
Lehman took the lead at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Saturday, shooting 8-under 62 to get to 17 under, one shot ahead of Fred Couples. He came into the week second in Schwab Cup points but can leapfrog Bernhard Langer with a win.
The Schwab Cup can also be Lehman’s with a top-5 finish and a below-average finish for Langer, and through three rounds at Desert Mountain, Langer isn’t as sharp as usual. The 2010 Schwab Cup champion had three consecutive bogeys late to shoot even, and he’s 6 under in a tie for 10th, 11 shots behind Lehman.
“I got it going for a little bit in the middle of the round, actually hit some really good shots for a stretch and didn’t get much out of it, then didn’t play very smart coming in,” Langer said.
It’s not over, but Langer appears to need one of the rounds of 60 to 62 that have been seen this week on the Cochise Course.
“That’s gotta be my mindset tomorrow, pretty much go at everything,” Langer said. “At this point it doesn’t matter if I drop further back, I need to make a move forward. Need a low one to make up some ground, to have any hope.”
Otherwise, the Schwab Cup will have its first back-to-back champion in Lehman.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Charles Schwab Cup Championship is looking like a three-man battle.
Fred Couples has joined the party, using a birdie-eagle run at Nos. 14 and 15 and to get to 15 under, tied for the lead with Jay Haas. Couples is 7 under on his round, one day after he played with Haas and was witness to a 60.
Haas is just 1 under on the day, but hanging around. Tom Lehman is 5 under on the day and one shot back at 14 under. If he can win the tournament, he’s assured of a second consecutive Schwab Cup title. But where he is now (third) and where points leader Bernhard Langer is (T12, 10 shots back) also would hand the Cup to Lehman.
After Couples, Haas and Lehman is a four-shot gap to Jay Don Blake at 10 under. The first-round leader bounced back from a poor Friday with a 65 on Saturday.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tom Lehman is putting himself in position to leave town with two trophies.
The defending Charles Schwab Cup champion is 5 under on his third round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and has reeled in playing partner Jay Haas. Haas led by five after his sparkling 60 on Friday but is just even par in Round 3. The two are tied at 14 under through 11 holes.
Lehman came to Desert Mountain in second in the Schwab Cup race but can steal the lead from Bernhard Langer with a win. Langer is 1 under through 13, seven shots off the pace. He saved par after missing the green at the par-3 13th hole but needs birdies to climb from his T8 position.
Fred Couples is two shots off the lead at 12 under.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – With his notoriously balky back, Fred Couples hadn’t completed an event on the Champions Tour since winning the Senior British Open in late July.
He withdrew from the Boeing Classic in August, and wasn’t seen again on Tour until this week at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
The rest apparently has done him some good, and there’s no rust. Couples is at 12 under through 10 holes on Moving Day at Desert Mountain, tied with Tom Lehman and three shots behind Jay Haas. He’s 4 under on his round after an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole and two birdies.
Only Jay Don Blake has a hotter round going on Saturday. The first-round leader shot 71 on Friday but is trying to crawl back into contention. He’s at 10 under.
Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer is in a tie for eighth at 7 under and projects to fall out of the points lead.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jay Haas isn’t perfect after all.
One day after his Champions Tour-record-tying 60 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Haas bogeyed his third hole in Round 3. He’s even through five holes at Desert Mountain but at 14 under and holding a three-shot lead over playing partner Tom Lehman.
Lehman is 2 under and sitting well in his chase to overtake Bernhard Langer for the Schwab Cup title. The defending champion in the year-long race needs at least a top 5 to be in the conversation and is doing his part. If he doesn’t win he needs help from Langer, and Langer is stuck at even through eight holes and 10th on the leaderboard. That combination would hand the Schwab Cup to Lehman.
Fred Couples is in third at 10 under.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – In 11 years of Schwab Cup history there has never been a back-to-back champion.
Tom Lehman is halfway home to changing that.
Lehman is second at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at 7 under after a second-round 63, trailing leader Jay Haas by three shots. That’s good enough to surge ahead of Bernhard Langer in the points as they stand now, with Langer tied for fifth at 5 under.
The 63 was also Lehman’s career low on the Champions Tour, a good sign going into the weekend at Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course.
“I was extremely pleased with my play. I really saved some shots coming in,” the 2011 Schwab Cup champion said. “Missed the green on 14 on a tough up-and-down, got it up-and-down from the bunker on 17 for par. Those par putts are what really keep the round, the momentum going.”
For Langer, Friday was a more satisfying day than the previous, where he couldn’t get anything going until late in a round of 69. In Round 2 he had six birdies and just one bogey.
“The greens are a little softer. They were inconsistent yesterday, they fixed that today,” Langer said. “(Thursday), I couldn’t make a putt. Today, I made them.”
Two rounds remain to decide the Schwab Cup, with plenty of volatility left given the two players’ high spots on the leaderboard and double points available.
“I can only play as good as I can play, and hope it’s good enough by Sunday,” Langer said.
Roger Chapman’s longshot bid at the Schwab Cup appears over. He would have to win the tournament and he’s tied for 21st through two rounds, at 1 under.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There’s a new member in the 60 club on the Champions Tour.
No one has shot the magic 59 on the 50-and-over circuit (yet), but now there are eight 60s after Jay Haas fired a 10-under round on Friday at the par 70 Desert Mountain Cochise Course in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Haas shot 28 on the back nine, birdieing seven of nine holes. On the par-5 18th he needed eagle for 59 and was in the greenside bunker in two shots, but came up short with the bunker shot. He made the ensuing 6-footer for the 60. It’s his lowest round on the Champions Tour and the course record at Desert Mountain.
“I tried to stay aggressive, and I did all day,” said Haas, who knew exactly where he stood on 18.
Haas is 58 years old and has won two Schwab Cups, but has never won the season finale. He’s at 14 under and has a five-shot lead over Tom Lehman, who is chasing the Schwab Cup himself. He projects to overtake Bernhard Langer at the moment, as Langer is tied for fifth at 6 under.
The last 60 on the Champions Tour was last year, by Nick Price at the Toshiba Classic. Haas isn’t the oldest player to shoot the number; Walter Morgan did it at age 61 in 2002 at the AT&T Canada Senior Open Championship. The other five to do it: Isao Aoki, Bruce Fleisher, Jim Thorpe, Tom Purtzer and Craig Stadler.
Jay Haas has two Schwab Cups, but has never won the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. He’s making a pretty good push toward that in Round 2 at Desert Mountain.
Haas is on a run of four consecutive birdies and is 7 under through 13 holes and 11 under for the tournament, four clear of Tom Lehman and Fred Couples.
Lehman, 5 under for his round, projects to win a second consecutive Schwab Cup as the leaderboard stands, with him being T2 and Bernhard Langer at T6. Langer is 4 under through 17 holes.
Jay Don Blake, the opening-round leader, is tied for fourth and even through 11 holes in his second round.
The second round is under way at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and Tom Lehman is rising to the top of two leaderboards.
Lehman, a Scottsdale, Ariz., resident, made three straight birdies from Nos. 5-7 at Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course to get to 5 under and the lead, alongside Jay Haas and Gary Hallberg.
Bernhard Langer is currently tied for 10th at 3 under, which means that Lehman projects to No. 1 in the Schwab Cup. Langer came into the event 211 points ahead of Lehman, but with double points available at the season finale, the Cup is still up for grabs.
Lehman is gunning to be the first back-to-back winner of the $1 million prize.
First-round leader Jay Don Blake has backed up a bit with two bogeys in his first three holes. He’s at 4 under.