Round 1 Notebook: Principal Charity Classic

June 03, 2011
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour Staff

Weather: Mostly sunny with high temperatures in the upper-80s and gusting winds from the SSW in the afternoon at up to 30 mph.

Mark Brooks, making just his sixth start on the Champions Tour, carded a 6-under 65 in warm and windy conditions at Glen Oaks Country Club on Friday afternoon. The Texas native made five birdies in his last eight holes, including a 65-footer for a three at the par-4 17th hole, to post his best round since joining the circuit after turning 50 on March 25. Mark Calcavecchia and Australia's Peter Senior trail by two strokes after carding 4-under 67s.

Leader Stats: Mark Brooks (-6) Mark Calcavecchia (-4) Peter Senior (-4)
Fairways Hit 11/14 - 78.57% (T13) 12/14 - 85.7% (T3) 12/14 - 85.7% (T3)
Driving Distance 306.5 - (24) 314.5 (T12) 296.0 - (T40)
Greens Hits 16/18 - 88.9% (T1) 12/18 - 66.7% (T24) 12/18 - 66.7% (T24)
Putts Per Round 29.0 - (T22) 27.0 - (T7) 26 - (T2)

• Round 1 Leaderboard: 1) Mark Brooks/65 (-6); T2) Mark Calcavecchia/67 (-4), Peter Senior/67 (-4); eight other players at -3.

• First-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win three of the first nine official events on the Champions Tour this year. In the previous 10 events here in the Des Moines area, only three first round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win -- D.A. Weibring (2004), Tom Jenkins (2005) and Jay Haas (2007).

• Brooks' 65 today gives him a first-round lead for the first time in his Champions Tour career. On the PGA TOUR, the seven-time winner led or shared a first-round lead eight times and went on to win twice. Before today, the last time Brooks was a first-round leader was at the 2006 B.C. Open.

• Defending champion Nick Price played his last 10 holes today in 5-under and posted a 68, his 10th straight sub-par score at this event and ninth consecutive round in the 60s at Glen Oaks.

John Huston turned 50 on Wednesday and shot 1-under 71 in his Champions Tour debut today. "It hadn't been that long since I played with Steve (Pate) but it's been awhile since I played with him Jim (Gallagher, Jr.). He and I go back to junior golf so it was a good grouping. It was a tough day. Wind was blowing. I'm happy to get off to a good start. I just tried to keep my legs under me and get in the groove of playing a few weeks in a row now. You've got to really think your way around here."

Damon Green, best known as Iowa's Zach Johnson's caddie on the PGA TOUR for the last eight years, also made his Champions Tour debut today after receiving a sponsor's exemption into the event. Green birdied the opening hole but bogeys at the final two holes left him with a score of 4-over 75. "I wasn't nervous when I was walking to the first tee but when they made the announcement, it hit me. I was actually okay after I hit the opening tee shot about 300 yards but I really got tired. I'm usually not this tired when I'm a caddie. I guess it's because I didn't have a bag on my shoulder."

• 60-year-old Bob Gilder played in his 178th consecutive event that he's been eligible for and shot 3-under 68 today. Gilder's appearance in Iowa moved him past Mike McCullough into second place on the all-time list behind Dana Quigley's record of 278 straight tournaments he was eligible for. Gilder's streak began after he missed the 2004 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn and ironically, it will end at that same event next week when he leaves on a two-week trip to Europe this coming Monday.

• In his first appearance on the Champions Tour in Iowa, Charles Schwab Cup leader Tom Lehman managed three birdies on the back nine to shoot 3-under 68 today. It marked the seventh time in nine starts on the Champions Tour this year that Lehman had an opening-round in the 60s. Lehman won the 1986 Waterloo Open and lost in a playoff in 1989 at the same mini-tour event in Iowa.

• With gusting winds throughout the day, the field scoring average was 72.100, the highest first-round scoring average at this event since 2007 (72.200) and third-highest overall. Last year's first-round scoring average was 70.744. Just 23 players broke par in Round 1 today compared to 36 sub-par scores on Friday last year. There were just two eagles made today (Joey Sindelar/No. 9, Mark Calcavecchia/No. 11) and 241 birdies. Last year, 273 birdies were made in the first round.

• The most difficult hole in Round 1 was the par-4 17th (4.450), yielding just five birdies. There were only two birdies made at the par-3 5th hole (Keith Clearwater, Jim Thorpe) and it played as the second hardest hole (3.363). The par-5 11th hole played as the easiest in Round 1 (4.425). There was one eagle and 44 birdies made on the hole.

This & That: Peter Senior had the only bogey-free round today (four birdies, 14 pars)...Jeff Hart, an open qualifier into the event this week (67), shot 3-under 68 today and needed just 24 putts, the fewest by a player in the field...Joey Sindelar made his first start on the Champions Tour since the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in late April and also carded a 3-under 68...John Huston hit the longest measured drive of the year on the Champions Tour, blasting his tee shot 375 yards on No. 11 today. Huston's blast surpassed Fred Couples 359-yard tee shot at the 4th hole in the second round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. ...Hale Irwin carded a 2-over 73 on his 66th birthday today...Australia's Graham Marsh withdrew from the event while playing the 4th hole today. Marsh cited a bad back for pulling out of the event. In addition to Marsh, four other players made their 11th consecutive start in this event (Vicente Fernandez, Bob Gilder, Tom Jenkins, Gil Morgan).