Rd. 1 Notebook: Principal Charity Classic

May 29, 2009
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

• For the first time in the nine-year history of the Des Moines event on the Champions Tour, three players are tied for the first-round lead. Also, the 67s posted by Bruce Vaughan, Lonnie Nielsen and Olin Browne are the highest first-round scores to lead the Principal Charity Classic.


• First-round leaders/co-leaders have won just two of the first 10 official events on the Champions Tour this year (Bernhard Langer/Mitsubishi Electric Championship, Bernhard Langer/Tom Lehman/Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf). In the previous eight Principal Charity Classics, three first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win -- D.A. Weibring (2004), Tom Jenkins (2005) and Jay Haas (2007).

• Only one player has shot an opening round in the 70s and gone on to win this event -- Jay Haas with 70 on Friday last year. Five of the previous eight winners of The Principal Charity Classic have posted three straight rounds in the 60s (Jim Thorpe-2001, Bob Gilder-2002, Don Pooley-2003, Gil Morgan-2006, Jay Haas-2007).

• Three-time PGA TOUR winner Olin Browne opened with a 4-under 67 in his Champions Tour debut today. In addition to Browne, Ken Schall, the director of golf at Glen Oaks Country Club, carded a two-over 73 in his first Champions Tour event. Schall, a two-time Iowa Open champion and four-time Iowa PGA Section winner, played the PGA TOUR full-time in 1991.

• This marks the second straight year that former Iowa Hawkeye star and Belle Plaine, Iowa native Lonnie Nielsen shares the first-round lead at The Principal Charity Classic. Last year, Nielsen opened with 5-under 66 and shared the first-round lead with R.W. Eaks. He went on to finish T22 in the event, his best performance in five appearances on the Champions Tour in his native state.

Bob Gilder made his 132nd consecutive appearance in events he's been eligible for on the Champions Tour. Gilder shot 1-over 72.

• Two-time defending champion Jay Haas got off to a slow start in his bid to become the first player since Hale Irwin at the 2005 Turtle Bay Championship (five straight) to win the same event at least three consecutive years. Haas carded a 1-over 72 today, ending his streak of sub-par rounds at Glen Oaks Country Club at six straight.

Andy Bean, a runner-up last year at The Principal Charity Classic, carded a 3-under 68 today, extending his run of rounds in the 60s at Glen Oaks to six straight. Bean was the only player in last year's field in Des Moines to post three straight rounds in the 60s.

• The field averaged 71.329 for the opening round of this year's event. Last year, with lift, clean, place rules in effect, the field averaged 71.231. Two years ago, the field averaged 72.200 at Glen Oaks Country Club. A total of 32 players had sub-par rounds today compared to 34 last year and 23 in 2007.

• The hardest hole in Round 1 was the par-4 10th hole (4.318/+.318). The par-5 9th hole played as the easiest (4.418/-.582). Mike Goodes made the only eagle of the day at No. 9 and the hole also gave up 47 birdies.

This and That: Jeff Sluman hit all 14 fairways today...John Morse, Robert Thompson and Ian Woosnam all hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation, the most by the 79 players in the field this week...Jim Colbert had just 23 putts and Ben Crenshaw had only 24 putts today. Crenshaw had 12 one-putts...Steve Thomas had the longest measured drive of the day, 341 yards at the par-4 15th hole...Tim Simpson had the only bogey-free round today...Keith Fergus had the roller-coaster round of the day. Fergus made six birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey for a round of 70.