Walmart First Tee Open: Final-round notebook

August 31, 2008
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Jeff Sluman won for the second time this year (Bank of America Championship) and claimed his second career title on the Champions Tour. He became the eighth player to register a pair of victories on the Champions Tour this year, joining Bernhard Langer, Scott Hoch, Denis Watson, Tom Watson, Fred Funk, Jay Haas and Eduardo Romero.

Inside the Numbers
Final Leaderboard
Player Score
1. Jeff Sluman 202 -14
T2. Fuzzy Zoeller 207 -9
T2. Craig Stadler 207 -9
T4. Chip Beck 208 -8
T4. Mark McNulty 208 -8
T4. Fred Funk 208 -8
T4. Phil Blackmar 208 -8
T8. Scott Simpson 209 -7
T8. David Eger 209 -7
T8. Steve Thomas 209 -7

• Sluman's multiple wins on the Champions Tour in 2008 are a first for him in his career. On the PGA TOUR, Sluman won all six of his official titles in different years. In 1999, he won the unofficial CVS Charity Classic with Stuart Appleby after claiming the Sony Open in Hawaii at the start of the season.

• On the PGA TOUR, Sluman played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 17 times and lost in a playoff to Mark O'Meara in 1992. He also finished second at the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, two strokes back of Tom Kite.

Jeff Sluman becomes the third player to win the Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach in his first attempt. Craig Stadler won the inaugural event in 2004 and Scott Simpson claimed the 2006 tournament in his appearance in the event as a Champions Tour player.

Jeff Sluman's five-stroke victory Sunday was a personal best and was the largest in the history of this event (Craig Stadler, 4 strokes, 2004). Sluman's five-stroke winning margin this week was also the third-largest on the Champions Tour this year.

Jeff Sluman's check for $315,000 moved his 2008 official earnings to $1,317,091 (fourth), his best financial year since 2003 on the PGA TOUR, when he earned $1,609,748 (40th).

Fuzzy Zoeller and his junior partner, Sydney Burlison (Salinas, Calif.), easily won the pro-junior competition. Zoeller/Burlison finished 54 holes at 25-under-par 191, eight strokes better than Nick Price/John Caitlin (Sacramento, Calif.). Burlison became the first female junior in event history to win the pro-junior competition. Zoeller/Burlison's better-ball score was two strokes better than the old pro-junior record (Morris Hatalsky/Harold Varner, 2007). This wasn't Zoeller's first win in a pro-am competition at Pebble Beach. In 1986, Zoeller coincidentally teamed with another Salinas, Calif., resident, Mike Evans, to win the pro-am portion of the AT&T National Pro-Am.

Fuzzy Zoeller's runner-up finish at the Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach was his best performance on the Champions Tour since he won the 2004 MasterCard Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.

• A pair of open qualifiers, Steve Thomas and Phil Blackmar, posted their best career finishes on the Champions Tour this week and both earned spots in the next event on the Champions Tour, the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn. Blackmar tied for fourth this week while Thomas made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole to jump up into a tie for eighth. His previous-best effort on the Champions Tour was a tie for 22nd at the 2007 Dick's Sporting Goods Open. On the PGA TOUR, Thomas' best finish was a tie for eighth at the 1988 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.

• The team of Jeff Rotsch and Mark Wilhite, both executives with General Mills, won the amateur portion of the Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach. The duo finished at 40-under-par 176 and defeated two other teams by three strokes.

Jeff Sluman made just two bogeys over 54 holes (Round 1, Del Monte, No. 15/Round 3, Pebble Beach, No. 17) and both he and Fuzzy Zoeller made the most birdies (16).

• This was the hardest Pebble Beach has played since 2004 (73.065). Last year, the cumulative scoring average at Pebble Beach was 72.800 and there were a total of 16 rounds in the 60s on the course for the week, including nine sub-70 scores on Sunday.

• For the third consecutive year, the par-5 14th hole played as the hardest at Pebble Beach. This year, the hole had a stroke average of 5.474 (+.474) compared to 5.271 last year and 5.244 in 2006.

Craig Stadler's runner-up finish this year earned him a check for $168,000 and moved him into second place in Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach all-time money. Stadler now has earned $638,017 and barely trails Hale Irwin who now has $639,630.

John Cook withdrew from the tournament prior to his round on Sunday due to a sore neck. He was at 1-over 145 through the first two rounds of the tournament.

Jeff Sluman earned 315 Charles Schwab Cup points for his win this week. He moved from ninth into the eighth position in the Schwab Cup standings with 1,157 total points on the season. Jay Haas (tied for 25th) did not earn any points this week and after 23 of the 29 official events he is still the leader in the Schwab Cup race by 98 points over Bernhard Langer. Haas has 2,145 points and Langer has 2,047 points on the season.

• Fred Funk earned 97 points for his tie for fourth this week and crept closer to the lead. Funk remains in the third position and now has 1,876 points this year. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most Charles Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout and will collect the Charles Schwab Cup. Haas is bidding to win his second Schwab Cup in three years.