By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Even during the four-round marathon that is the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, it’s hard to resist the projections and permutations that play out as the Schwab Cup race nears its end.
Through 14 holes in the opening round at Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course, Bernhard Langer was opening the door for Tom Lehman.
Langer leads the year-long race by 211 points over Lehman, meaning Lehman needs a strong finish and Langer a poor one. And midway through the back nine in Round 1, Langer was stuck at 1 over while Lehman was three shots ahead at 2 under.
But Langer, the 2010 Schwab Cup champion, didn’t build this year’s Schwab Cup cushion without salvaging some rounds. He did it again on Thursday, birdieing three of the last four holes to finish in red figures at 1 under, one shot behind Lehman in their marquee pairing.
“I was very happy with my finish,” Langer said. “I played some good golf coming in.”
Langer is tied for 14th in the event, while Lehman is T11. That’s not enough of a gap for Lehman, the defending Schwab Cup champion, to overtake Langer.
Roger Chapman, the other man who figures into the Schwab Cup scenarios, is also T14 after a 1-under 69. He has to win the tournament to have a shot at the $1 million payout.