Week 11 Approach Shots: Principal Charity Classic

May 27, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

CAN O'MEARA BREAK THROUGH?? He watched two of his contemporaries in professional golf, Nick Price and Tom Lehman, win their first Champions Tour events last month. Can Mark O'Meara, a winner of 16 PGA TOUR titles including the 1998 Masters and British Open, finally win his first title on the Champions Tour in Iowa?

Quick facts
WHAT: 11th of 26 official Charles Schwab Cup events
WHEN: May 29-31
WHERE: West Des Moines, Iowa
COURSE: Glen Oaks Country Club
WHAT'S AT STAKE: $1.725 million ($270,000 to the winner)
KEY LINKS: Tee Times | Scores | Power Rankings | Tournament site

O'Meara's first PGA TOUR victory came in the upper Midwest at the 1984 Greater Milwaukee Open. Through 38 career starts on the Champions Tour circuit, O'Meara has registered six runner-up performances among his 13 top-10s. Price won recently at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in his 39th career start on the circuit, and Lehman claimed his first Champions Tour victory in his Tour debut at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. In his first trip to Des Moines last year, O'Meara finished T30 but was only two strokes off the lead after 36 holes.

BROWNE DEBUTS: Olin Browne, a winner of three PGA TOUR titles and four Nationwide Tour events, will debut on the Champions Tour at this year's Principal Charity Classic. Browne turned 50 on May 22, and the Iowa stop will be his first eligible event. Browne claimed the second of his four Nationwide Tour titles at the 1991 Hawkeye Open, defeating John Ross and Ted Tryba by two strokes in Iowa City. Earlier this year at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, Tom Lehman became only the 13th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut on the circuit. Last week, Michael Allen also won in his debut at the Senior PGA Championship. Should Browne triumph at Glen Oaks this year, it would mark the first time since 1980 that three players won in their Champions Tour debuts in the same season (1980-Don January, Atlantic City International; Roberto DeVicenzo, U.S. Senior Open; Arnold Palmer, PGA Seniors Championship).

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME: In 1991, a group was formed to convert 532 acres of farmland into what is now known as Glen Oaks Residential Community and Glen Oaks Country Club. The desire of this group was to create a community, club and golf course unparalleled in the state of Iowa. By the fall of 1992, the streets in the first phase of the development were completed. In the spring of 1993, construction of residential homesites began, and the first resident came in July 1993. In the meantime, construction of the golf course and Clubhouse was proceeding. Although it slowed progress, the extensive Flood of '93 could not stop the 10 founders from achieving their dream. Glen Oaks was designed by one of the top golf course architects in the United States, Tom Fazio, and was nominated by Golf Digest as one of the top new golf courses in the United States. The golf course has since been named "1995 Golf Course of the Year" by Seed Research of Oregon and "9th Best New Private Golf Course opened in 1995" by Golf Digest. Glen Oaks Country Club is the only venue on the 2009 Champions Tour schedule that was designed by Tom Fazio.

Weather forecast for the Principal Charity Classic
Mostly sunny
Temp: 86 high/59 low
Mostly sunny
Temp: 85 high/61 low
Partly cloudy
Temp: 85 high/67 low
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Principal Charity Classic snippets
The front nine: This year marks the ninth anniversary for a co-sponsored Champions Tour stop in Des Moines. A player with Midwestern roots has won this event four of the last five years, and the tournament is still looking for its first international winner.
Strong field: This year's Principal Charity Classic will have 13 different winners of major championships on the PGA TOUR as well as five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Three-peat?: Jay Haas goes for a rare feat when he tees it up this week. Haas will be trying to win the same event three consecutive years, something that's only happened five other times in the history of the Champions Tour.
Celeb spotting: Actor Michael J. Fox will play in the pro-am this week at the Principal Charity Classic. He played earlier this year in the Pro-Am at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.

2008 PRINCIPAL CHARITY CLASSIC RECAP: Trailing second-round leader Nick Price by three strokes with nine holes remaining, Jay Haas made a big move down the stretch to successfully defend his title in Iowa. Haas first inched closer to Price with a birdie at No. 11 and then proceeded to take control of the tournament after making three consecutive birdies on Nos. 14-16. After he made a par on each of his final two holes, Haas waited to see whether his closest pursuers would challenge. When they didn't, Haas had his second consecutive win at Glen Oaks, a one-stroke triumph over Andy Bean and a two-stroke victory over Price. Haas' win was the 12th of his Champions Tour career. Haas' victory also came the week after he won the Senior PGA Championship.