Final-round notebook: Principal Charity Classic

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Zimbabwe's Mark McNulty is the first international player to win the Principal Charity Classic.
May 31, 2009
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- On a day when seven different players held at least a share of the lead at various times, Mark McNulty won his seventh career title on the Champions Tour, rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra playoff hole to defeat Fred Funk. After making birdie on the final hole of regulation to tie McNulty and Funk, Nick Price was eliminated in the overtime session on the second extra hole when McNulty and Funk both made birdie.

• McNulty's win was his first on the Champions Tour since the 2007 JELD-WEN Tradition (42 starts). McNulty's playoff victory was his second on the Champions Tour. He won the 2005 Bank of America Championship in a three-way playoff with Tom Purtzer and Don Pooley near Boston.

• Zimbabwe's McNulty became the first international player to win The Principal Charity Classic in the nine-year history of the event in Des Moines and also became the ninth different winner on the Champions Tour this year after 11 official events.

• McNulty earned a check for $258,750 and also picked up 259 Charles Schwab Cup points. McNulty moved up into 10th place in the 2009 Schwab Cup race with 444 points. Loren Roberts earned 53 points for his T6 finish this week and moved up into third place ahead of Larry Mize (593) in the season-long race with 625 points. There was no change among the top-two players in the yearly standings after 11 official events. Bernhard Langer still leads with 922 points. Michael Allen is second with 720 points. At the end of the year, the player earning the most Schwab Cup points will earn a $1 million payout.

• The playoff was the first at Glen Oaks Country Club and the second in the nine-year history of The Principal Charity Classic. In 2005 at the Tournament Club of Iowa, Tom Jenkins rolled in a five-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to defeat D.A. Weibring. The four-hole overtime session was the longest playoff on the Champions Tour since the 2008 Toshiba Classic when Bernhard Langer bested Jay Haas on the seventh extra hole. It was also the third playoff this year (AT&T Champions Classic, Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf). Before today, the last four-hole playoff on the Champions Tour was at the 2007 AT&T Champions Classic when Tom Purtzer defeated Loren Roberts and Brad Bryant.

• McNulty became the fourth different Principal Charity Classic champion to come from two strokes back to win in the final round. Bob Gilder (2002), Tom Jenkins (2005) and Jay Haas (2008) all rallied from two shots back to win in Des Moines.

• This was McNulty's fifth appearance at The Principal Charity Classic and before today, he had never finished in the top-15 in any single event. McNulty was T27 in 2004, T33 in 2006, T16 in 2007 and T36 last year after trailing by just one stroke after 36 holes.

• Two-time defending champion Jay Haas struggled with his driver this week and finished T17 in his bid to three-peat at The Principal Charity Classic. Haas ranked T68 for the week in Driving Accuracy hitting just 25 of 42 fairways off the tee (59.52%). When Haas won in both 2007 and 2008 at Glen Oaks, he ranked T27 (31/42) and 1st (40/42) in Driving Accuracy for each particular year.

• The field averaged 71.279 this year compared to 71.107 in 2008 and 71.404 in 2007. This year, 35 professionals finished the tournament under par compared to 45 last year and 37 under par in 2007.

• This year, the hardest hole at Glen Oaks Country Club was the par-4 10th hole (4.296/+.296). The par-5 9th hole is now the fourth easiest hole on the Champions Tour, playing to a stroke average of 4.333/-677. No. 9 yielded 10 eagles and 124 birdies this week.

Bruce Summerhays, 65, who was making only his third start of the year and first since mid-March, was T6 this week at The Principal Charity Classic. Along with 61-year-old Tom Jenkins, it marked the second consecutive event that a player over age 60 recorded a top-10 finish on the Champions Tour. Last week at the Senior PGA Championship, 60-year-old Bruce Fleisher finished third at the Senior PGA Championship. Summerhays' performance this week was his best on the Champions Tour since he last won in 2004 at the Kroger Classic near Cincinnati. It also marked the first time since last year's Administaff Small Business Classic that a player over 65 finished in the top-10. Near the end of last season in Houston, a 66-year-old Dave Stockton finished T4 in the Administaff event.

Jim Colbert posted a 3-under-par 68 today and matched his age for the first time this year. Just over five years ago, Colbert matched his age for the first time at the 2003 Senior British Open, carding a 62 at Turnberry in the second round. Earlier this season, Colbert bettered his age for the first time with a 66 in the first round of the Toshiba Classic. Colbert also finished T17 in the event, his best effort on the Champions Tour since he T16 at last year's Principal Charity Classic.

John Cook's 7-under 64 today was the low round of the tournament and was his best round on the Champions Tour since he fired an 8-under 63 in the second round of last year's AT&T Championship. Cook vaulted 35 places into a T6, his best finish in a stroke-play event since T6 in the season opener at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

Olin Browne, a winner of three PGA TOUR titles and four Nationwide Tour events, finished T50 in his Champions Tour debut this week. Ken Schall, the director of golf at Glen Oaks Country Club, who also played the PGA TOUR in 1991, finished T70 in his first start on the Champions Tour.

• Mark O'Meara withdrew from the tournament prior to his final round with a lower back injury and R.W. Eaks withdrew while playing the 8th hole on Sunday with a lower back injury.

This and That: Bruce Fleisher hit 39 of 42 fairways (92.86%)...John Cook hit the most greens in regulation this week (47 of 54/87.04%)...Jim Colbert, Ben Crenshaw and Morris Hatalsky all averaged 27 putts per round this week....John Cook's 16 birdies were the most by a player in the field...Gene Jones was the only player to make two eagles this week.

• Following the conclusion of the tournament, Colin Whitney from Winthrop, Iowa had his name drawn at random and won an all-expense paid trip to the final round of next year's Masters. The contest was sponsored by Midland Choice, a local company.

• With today's playoff, eight of the first 11 events this year on the Champions Tour have been decided by one stroke or in overtime. Also, every winner this year has been 55 years of age or younger.