AT&T Championship: Final-Round Notebook

October 21, 2007
By Phil Stambaugh PGA TOUR Staff

SAN ANTONIO -- John Cook won his first Champions Tour title in his second career start on the circuit Sunday and, at 19 days after turning 50, became the event's youngest winner and eighth-youngest all-time on the Champions Tour.

Player Score
1. John Cook 198 -15
2. Mark O'Meara 200 -13
T3. Fred Funk 201 -12
T3. Loren Roberts 201 -12
T3. Tom Kite 201 -12
6. Lonnie Nielsen 204 -9
T7. Mark Wiebe 205 -8
T7. Dave Stockton 205 -8
T7. Mark James 205 -8
T10. Wayne Levi 206 -7
T10. Scott Simpson 206 -7

• Last year at the AT&T Championship, Fred Funk won the event at 50 years, four months and eight days. Earlier this year, Mark Wiebe matched the Champions Tour's all-time record for youngest winner, claiming his first victory just 10 days after turning 50.

John Cook's victory Sunday was his first since the 2001 Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of his 11 PGA TOUR titles, and ended a victory drought of 6 years, 1 month and 25 days. It was Cook's second career win in the state of Texas (1998 Byron Nelson Golf Classic). His previous best effort at Oak Hills on the PGA TOUR was a tie for seventh in the 1991 H.E.B. Texas Open.

John Cook's victory Sunday earned him a check for $240,000 and also a trip to the season-opening event in Hawaii next year, the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai.

John Cook's win Sunday marked the fifth straight year the AT&T Championship has been won by a player on his first attempt and amazingly, it's happened 13 times in the 23-year history of the tournament. Don January (1997), Bruce Crampton (1986), Jim Dent (1990), Lee Trevino (1991), David Graham (1997), John Mahaffey (1999), Doug Tewell (2000), Craig Stadler (2003), Mark McNulty (2004, Jay Haas (2005) and Fred Funk (2006) are the others to do it.

John Cook's win coupled with Bernhard Langer's victory last week at the Administaff Small Business Classic gives the Class of 2007 back-to-back titles. Cook became the eighth first-time winner, second consecutive first-timer and third in the last four events (Langer, Mark Wiebe/SAS Championship). Before Sunday, the last time the Champions Tour had back-to-back first-time winners was in 2006 when Eduardo Romero (JELD-WEN Tradition) and Scott Simpson (Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach) did it.

John Cook became the 20th different winner this year, the first time since 2004 that the Champions Tour has had at least 20 different champions. Cook became the eighth first-time winner, the same number of first-time winners as last year.

• A total of 10 of the last 12 winners of this event have all posted three straight rounds in the 60s.

• For the second consecutive year, Loren Roberts tied for fourth at Oak Hills and, as a result, he widened his lead over Jay Haas in the Charles Schwab Cup race. Roberts picked up 96 points this week and now enjoys a 165-point advantage over Haas entering the season's final event. Last year, Haas went into the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a 126-point lead and ended up winning by 20 points, the closest race ever.

• Double points are on the line for top-10 finishers at next week's event in Sonoma. The winner of the Charles Schwab Cup will earn a $1 million annuity. Based on the points available (880) to the winner of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, only four players have an opportunity to claim the 2007 Charles Schwab Cup. In addition to Roberts (2,716) and Haas (2,551), only Tom Watson (2,032) and Brad Bryant (2,019) are still mathematically eligible.

• Mark O'Meara recorded his fourth runner-up performance of the 2007 season this week and his second consecutive second-place finish. O'Meara's 69 Sunday stretched his run of sub-70 rounds to seven straight, one sub-70 round short of Tom Purtzer's 2007 best of eight straight scores in the 60s. O'Meara is now 35 under par over a stretch that started with a final-round 65 (5 under) at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.

John Cook's come-from-behind win Sunday snapped a streak of five straight events won by second-round leaders/co-leaders. Cook joined Jay Haas (2005) as just the second player to come-from-behind to win at Oak Hills.

• Oak Hills Country Club played to a stroke average of 71.316 Sunday compared to 72.333 on Sunday last year. Overall for three rounds, Oak Hills played to a stroke average of 70.774 compared to 71.201 last year.

Jim Thorpe managed to hold off Tom Jenkins for the 30th spot on the money list and earned his way into next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma. Jim Thorpe, the defending champion in next week's event, ran his streak of years in the season-ending tournament to nine consecutive while Jenkins saw his run of years in the Schwab Cup Championship end at eight straight. Craig Stadler's streak of consecutive years among the top-30 finishers on the money list ended at four in a row.

• After starting the week on the outside looking in (51st), Japan's Massy Kuramoto tied for 18th this week and played his way into the top 50 (48th) on the 2007 money list to earn partially exempt status on the Champions Tour for 2008. Bruce Vaughan, an open qualifier at the start of the year, also earned partially exempt status for next year, finishing 44th on the final money list with $434,934.