Schwab Cup Championship: Round 1 notebook

November 04, 2010
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR staff

Weather: Sunny and pleasant with highs in the low-to-mid-60s. Winds were from WNW at 5-10 mph. Lift, clean and place rules were in effect.


Current Leaderboard: 1 -- John Cook (64/-7);T2 -- Fred Funk, Tom Pernice Jr. (65/-6); 4 -- Tom Lehman (66/-5); T5 -- Olin Browne, Tom Kite, Peter Senior, Jeff Sluman, Russ Cochran, Bernhard Langer (67/-4).

• A year after posting a five-stroke win in this tournament at the Sonoma Golf Club, John Cook is off to a hot start at the new venue at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Cook fired a 7-under-par 64 and holds a one-stroke margin over Tom Pernice Jr. and Fred Funk.

Cook's opening-round 64 is the best first-round effort since Eduardo Romero and Jim Thorpe shot 64s at the 2007 event. It was also one stroke shy of the lowest first-round score in tournament history by Thorpe in 2003.

This was Cook's fifth consecutive round in the 60s in this event and sixth straight this year.

This is the second consecutive week Cook has led or shared the first-round lead. He was one of five players to open with a 6-under-par 65 last Friday at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio. He eventually finished T3.

• So far in 2010, five first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win, including Bernhard Langer, who is the only one to win a 72-hole event (Senior British Open).

Langer made his first hole-in-one as a member of the Champions Tour when he aced No. 3 with a 5-iron from 191 yards. It was the 15th of his career in competition and just the fifth this year on the Champions Tour. It was also the first in this event since Tom Jenkins made one in 2003.

• Tom Pernice Jr. led the way for a dozen newcomers to this event with a 6-under-par 65. Pernice is bidding to run his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour to nine. He was T27 in his first start this year at the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

• The field averaged 69.167 in the opening round and 14 of 30 competitors posted rounds in the 60s. The most difficult hole was No. 18 with an average score of 4.167 (+.167). There were just two birdies -- Olin Browne and Joe Ozaki. In fact, five of the toughest holes were on the back nine. Nos. 13-15 ranked 2nd, 3rdand 4th, while No. 11 ranked 5th overall. No. 14 yielded just one birdie by Tom Lehman. The easiest hole was No. 9 with an average of 4.267 (-.733) and three players made eagle -- Mike Reid, Mark Wiebe and Larry Mize.

Last year the field averaged 70.414 at the Sonoma Golf Club and there were just nine rounds in the 60s.

Cook, Pernice Jr., and Russ Cochran all had bogey-free rounds on Thursday.

• Most eyes are on Fred Couples this week since he is the lone player to have an opportunity to still claim the Charles Schwab Cup from current leader Langer, who leads by 582 points in the season-long race. Couples must win the event and hope Langer does not finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better on Sunday. Couples is currently T13 after a 2-under-par 69, while Langer is T5.

• Tom Kite made his 11th consecutive appearance in this tournament, tying Gil Morgan and Jim dent for second most in event history. Hale Irwin made 13 consecutive appearances. Kite, who opened with a 4-under-par 67 owns 10 wins in California in his career.