Round 2 Notebook: Ensure Classic at Rock Barn

October 02, 2010
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR staff

Weather: Sunny and pleasant with highs in the mid-70s. Winds were from the NE at 5-10 mph.

• Current Leaderboard:1 -- Fred Couples (132/-12); 2 -- Bernhard Langer (133/-11); T3-- Morris Hatalsky & Nick Price (134/-10; T5 -- Tommy Armour III & Dan Forsman (135/-9); T7 -- Don Pooley, Hal Sutton & Tom Kite (136/-8).


• For the second consecutive day, a player birdied the final hole to take sole possession of the lead at the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. Fred Couples made a one-foot putt at No. 18 to give him a one-stroke advantage over Bernhard Langer. Couples shot a second consecutive 6-under-par 66 on Saturday.

• This is the third time this year that Fred Couples has led or been tied for the lead heading into the final round of a Champions Tour event. He was the 36-hole leader by two strokes at both the Toshiba Classic as well as The ACE Group Classic. He went on to win both of those early-season events. Couples and Bernhard Langer shared the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Senior Open near Seattle in July, but emerged with the victory after a final-round 3-under-par 67 to claim the year's third major championship by three strokes.

• Couples owns the lowest final-round scoring average on the Champions Tour at 66.92, while Bernhard Langer is T12 at 70.06.

• This will be just the second time that Couples and Bernhard Langer will play in the final group together on the Champions Tour (Morris Hatalsky will be the third player in that group). Couples and Langer were paired at this year's U.S. Senior Open after sharing the 54-hole lead. Langer shot a 3-under-par 67 to win by three shots.

• Should Langer win the tournament, it will give him six victories in 2010, the most by a Champions Tour player since Larry Nelson won six in 2000. It would also give Langer 14 career victories, moving him into a tie with Dave Stockton and Raymond Floyd at 15th on the all-time victory list.

• The outcome of Sunday's final round could have a bearing on the Charles Schwab Cup race. Langer currently leads Couples by 672 points, but a win by Couples could cut into that margin. A victory by Nick Price could vault him into the top five in the points standing. He is currently seventh with 1,306 points. The winner of this tournament will receive 263 points.

• None of the second-round leaders/co-leaders won the event in the tournament's first three years, but that trend has turned the last four years as Andy Bean (2006), R.W. Eaks (2007 and 2008) and Jay Haas (2009) have gone on to claim the title.

• Couples and Langer are 1-2 in total birdies in this tournament with 15 and 13, respectively. Couples is also tied with Morris Hatalsky with just 51 putts through the first two rounds.

Morris Hatalsky posted his best round since March, 2008 at the Toshiba Classic (7-under-par 64) when he shot a 7-under-par 65 on Saturday. He could be in line for his first top-10 finish in a Champions Tour stroke-play event since he was T8 at the 2009 JELD-WEN Tradition.

• First-round leader Peter Senior slipped back to T10 after shooting an even-par 72 on Saturday. He will start Sunday's final round trailing by five strokes.

• One day after shooting a 7-over-par 79, Gene Jones (native of High Point, NC) shaved 12 strokes off his score with a 5-under-par 67. Jones has been plagued at various times during the year with kidney stone issues.

• With much better scoring conditions on Saturday, the field average dropped nearly a stroke from 71.154 in the opening round to 70.385 in the second round. There were 53 sub-par rounds compared to 48 on Friday, including 35 in the 60s, 13 more than in the first round. Saturday's scoring average was the lowest second-round mark in tournament history. The previous low was 70.520 in 2005.

• Hole No. 11 was the most difficult with an average score of 4.231 (+.231), while No. 18 was again the easiest at 4.487 (-.513). There were 34 birdies on No. 18 and just two bogeys. Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer have each made birdies on the hole in the first two rounds as has Nick Price.

• Rookie Tom Byrum is T10 after 36 holes in his Champions Tour debut.