Toshiba Classic: Second-round notebook

March 07, 2009
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- For just the third time in the 15-year history of the Toshiba Classic, there are co-leaders after 36 holes. In 2004, Tom Purtzer and Morris Hatalsky (-11) were tied and Purtzer eventually won. In 2006, Purtzer, Bob Eastwood and Graham Marsh (-7) were tied, but Brad Bryant came from three strokes back to win.

Inside the Numbers
36-Hole Leaderboard
Player Score
T1. Mark O'Meara 133 -9
T1. Bernhard Langer 133 -9
3. Eduardo Romero 134 -8
4. Denis Watson 135 -7
T5. Tom Jenkins 136 -6
T5. Fred Funk 136 -6
T5. John Cook 136 -6
T8. Sandy Lyle 137 -5
T8. Morris Hatalsky 137 -5
T8. David Eger 137 -5
T8. Jeff Sluman 137 -5
T8. Jim Thorpe 137 -5
T8. Gene Jones 137 -5

Bernhard Langer goes for his sixth career victory on the Champions Tour on Sunday. If successful, he would become the first player in Toshiba Classic history to defend a title as well as the first player since Gil Morgan to successfully defend his first two career victories on the circuit. In 1997, Morgan repeated at the Ralphs Senior Classic in Los Angeles and then won a second straight JELD-WEN Tradition in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1998. At the end of last year, Langer claimed a second straight Administaff Small Business Classic event.

• The last time Langer and Mark O'Meara played in the final group together was at the 2007 Administaff Small Business Classic in Houston. O'Meara trailed Langer by four strokes entering the final round and, though he finished 17 under par for 54 holes, he lost to Langer by eight shots when Germany's greatest golfer carded a final-round 64 at Augusta Pines. It was Langer's first win on the Champions Tour and came in his fourth start on the circuit.

• Langer and Eduardo Romero will both play in the final grouping Sunday for the ninth time in their Champions Tour careers. For Langer, it will also be the second time he's been in the last grouping in 2009. In the previous eight times he's been in the last group on Sunday, he's gone on to win five times including earlier this year at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii. Romero has won three events (all in 2008, last at SAS Championship) out of the previous eight times he's been in the final grouping on a Sunday.

• O'Meara will be in the last group for a fifth time on the Champions Tour and is looking for his first Champions Tour victory. The last time he played in the last group on Sunday was at the 2007 AT&T Championship, when he and Tom Kite shared the 36-hole lead in San Antonio. He eventually finished second to John Cook that year at Oak Hills CC.

• Langer's overall record on the Champions Tour when leading/co-leading heading into the final round of a Champions Tour event is four wins in five attempts. O'Meara is 0-1 and should he win Sunday, he would become the sixth player to claim his first Champions Tour title at the Toshiba Classic (Gary McCord in 1999, Jose Maria Canizares in 2001, Rodger Davis in 2003, Mark Johnson in 2005 and Brad Bryant in 2006).

• O' Meara is looking for his eighth career title in California. On the PGA TOUR, O'Meara won the 1985, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1997 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am as well as the 1996 Mercedes Championships at LaCosta and 1997 Buick Invitational in San Diego.

• Romero is trying to win for the fourth time in his last 10 starts dating back to last year's triumph at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. In addition to his win in Endicott, N.Y., Romero claimed the U.S. Senior Open title as well as the SAS Championship. He also finished third at the Senior British Open and tied for seventh at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship during this stretch.

• Langer is shooting for a third victory in his last six events dating back to the 2008 Administaff Small Business Classic. Thus far in 2009, he's won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship and finished third at the Allianz Championship and tied for third at the ACE Group Classic.

• In the previous 14 tournaments, eight players who have led or been tied for the lead after 36 holes have gone on to win, including seven of the last nine years. The exceptions were in 2006, when Bryant rallied from three strokes back to win, and in 2001, when Jose Maria-Canizares made up a five-stroke deficit and then won in a playoff with Morgan.

• A total of 255 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race will be awarded to the winner of the 2009 Toshiba Classic. Langer, the current Schwab Cup leader with 525 points, has a chance to pad his lead with a high finish tomorrow. Loren Roberts is currently in second place with 305 points, one point more than Mike Goodes. At the end of the official season, the player with the most Schwab Cup points will earn a $1 million payout.

• Both Langer and O'Meara are looking to become the first 36-hole leaders/co-leaders to win a Champions Tour event in 2009. This is a similar situation to last year when the Champions Tour came to the Toshiba Classic, all four previous first-round leaders/co-leaders had failed to hold on.

• The field scoring average on Saturday was 70.782 today vs. 71.101 on Friday. There were 28 scores below 70 on Saturday compared to 23 rounds in the 60s on Friday. Through two rounds, the field scoring average is 70.943. compared to 70.538 through 36 holes at last year's event. Even though the par-3 eighth hole played as the second-most difficult (3.321) today, there was only one birdie made (Tim Simpson). The par-4 ninth played as the hardest Saturday (4.333).

Gary Player, the 73-year-old World Golf Hall of Fame member, bettered his age for the fourth time this year when he carded a 1-over 72 Saturday. It marked the 26th time in his Champions Tour career that he's shot his age or better. At last year's Toshiba Classic on Saturday, Player shot 72 and matched his age.

• Both O'Meara and Gene Jones have made two eagles over their first 36 holes and O'Meara has eagled the par-5 third hole in each of the first two rounds. ... Romero, Jeff Sluman and David Eger have all made 11 birdies through 36 holes, the most in the field. ... Tom Jenkins has just one bogey over his first 36 holes.

Mark Wiebe's 5-under 66 matched O'Meara's score as the lowest rounds of the day. As a result of his score, Wiebe jumped 40 spots into a tie for 24th on Saturday, the biggest move of the day.

Tom Purtzer, the 2004 Toshiba Classic champion, was forced to withdraw from the tournament for personal reasons while playing the 11th hole during his second round.