Round 3 notes: Walmart First Tee Open

September 06, 2009
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff

Jeff Sluman wins his third title on the Champions Tour and his first since last year's Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach. Sluman becomes the first player to successfully defend a title on the Champions Tour since John Cook won consecutive AT&T Championships in San Antonio in 2007-2008. The only other time Sluman has won the same titles in back-to-back years in his career was when he claimed consecutive Franklin Templeton Shark Shootouts with Hank Kuehne in 2003-2004.

• Sluman came from six strokes back to win this year's event. It not only eclipsed Scott Simpson's two-stroke comeback in 2006 as the biggest come-from-behind win in tournament history but also was the largest on the Champions Tour since Denis Watson came from seven shots off the pace to claim the AT&T Champions Classic in March, 2008 in a playoff. Before today, Sluman's biggest come-from-behind win came at the 1997 Tucson Chrysler Classic when he rallied from four strokes down to win the second of his six PGA TOUR titles.

• Sluman earned 315 Charles Schwab Cup points and moved up 10 spots into ninth position in the season-long points race. Sluman now has 820 total points this season. Fred Funk's T8 finish this week earned him 58 points and increased his leading total to 2,109. Loren Roberts finished T5 this week and earned 87 Schwab Cup points. He now trails Funk by only 57 points after 19 official events. At the end of the official season, the player earned the most Charles Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout.

• Sluman earned a $315,000 check and increased his 2009 official earnings total to $1,037,964 (5th).

• For the first time since the 2005 Senior British Open, two players made a hole-in-one on the same hole in the same day. After having gone five years without an ace at the Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach, two aces were made within 45 minutes of each other. First, Allen Doyle aced the 178-yard, par-3, 5th hole with a 7-iron shot and then Sluman aced the same hole with an 8-iron. For both Doyle and Sluman, this was their first ace on the Champions Tour and there now have been nine aces made on the circuit this year. For Doyle, it was his second consecutive week with an ace. He had a hole-in-one during the pro-am at last week's Boeing Classic.

• Sluman became the first player since R.W. Eaks at the 2007 Dick's Sporting Goods Open to make an ace and go on to win.

Gene Jones and Funk were the only two players in the field with three consecutive sub-par rounds at the 2009 Walmart First Tee Open At Pebble Beach. For Jones, it was his fourth career runner-up finish on the Champions Tour and second second-place effort this season. Earlier this year, Jones finished one stroke back of Loren Roberts at The ACE Group Classic.

• Roberts didn't win this week, but his T5 finish at Pebble Beach gives him five straight top-five performances on the Champions Tour, a first in his career. Roberts started his run with a playoff win at the Senior British Open and then finished T4 at the U.S. Senior Open, T5 at the JELD-WEN Tradition and a victory at the Boeing Classic. Roberts had four consecutive top-five performances on two other occasions.

• In the pro-junior competition, the team of David Eger and Will Bishop of the First Tee of Lexington, KY edged Sluman and his junior partner, Erica Schneider of The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee, FL by one stroke. Eger/Bishop carded a better-ball team score of 17-under-par 199.

• Today's final-round scoring average of 74.753 was the highest final-round average in tournament history. The previous high scoring average on Sunday at Pebble Beach was 73.355 last year.

Pebble Beach Del Monte
Round 1 73.205/4 (2009)-73.641/5 (2008) 71.000/14 (2009)-70.436/14 (2008)
Round 2 73.000/6 (2009)-71.795/6 (2008) 70.667/12 (2009)-71.026/10 (2008)
Round 3 74.753/4 (2009)-73.355/12 (2008) ---
Cumulative 73.923/14 (2009)-73.032/23 (2008) 70.833/26 (2009)-70.731/24 (2008)

• Here's a look at the scoring averages at the two courses this year compared to last year, along with the number of rounds in the 60s for each round at each course for both years:

Wayne Levi was disqualified after his round for signing an incorrect scorecard.

Keith Clearwater, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, finished T42 in his Champions Tour debut this week. Clearwater turned 50 years of age on September 1.

• This and That: Hale Irwin hit the most fairways off the tee during the week (39 of 42/92.86%)...

Jerry Pate led in greens in regulation (77.78%)...Fulton Allem and Lanny Wadkins averaged 25.33 putts per round this week...Steve Thomas' 348-yard drive at the par-4 10th hole in Round 3 was the longest measured drive of the week...Sluman made the most birdies (15) this week and Olin Browne made the fewest bogeys (4)...Tim Simpson was the only player in the field with a pair of eagles.