Power Rankings: Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn

June 06, 2011
Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM Contributor

Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.

Gary Hallberg shot a scintillating 11-under 61 in the final round last year to win the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn.


It gave him an 18-under 198 total -- tying the record at Rock Barn Golf and Spa -- and his first career victory on the Champions Tour. As good as Hallberg's round was, the win didn't come easily. With Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer in pursuit, Hallberg had to grind to the finish. In the process, he set or equaled a number of Champions Tour standards.

Hallberg is back to defend the title this year and, ironically, neither Couples, the runner-up by one stroke in 2010, or Langer, who finished third, will be in the field. Both are recovering from physical issues. Bob Tway, who shot a final-round 62 to finish fourth, is back looking for his first Champions Tour title. Tway's round included an ace at the 186-yard ninth hole at Rock Barn.

Jay Haas is a two-time winner of the Greater Hickory Classic in 2005 and 2009.

Power Rankings: Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn
Rank Player   Comment
Continued to show excellent form at the Principal Charity with a T9 finish, his fifth straight top 10. He's fifth on the Charles Schwab Cup points list, ninth on the Money List so there's been no sophomore jinx for this Senior.
Always in contention. Now has 6 top 10s in nine starts after a T9 at the Principal Charity. The flat stick has been outstanding - No. 1 in putts per round (28.14) and No. 3 in putting average (1.699).
Two-time winner this year improved each round at Principal Charity, finishing with a final-round 4-under 67. No. 3 in driving accuracy and No. 5 in greens in regulation - always a good combination.
His stellar season continues and, remember, he finished sixth at Rock Barn last year and T4 in '09 so there's a good feeling for him in North Carolina. No. 2 in all-around stats -- all systems are go.
Keeps churning out top 10 finishes (5th last week) but he's gotten into a bad habit of letting tournaments slip away on the final nine. He needs to sort that out and needs to improve driving accuracy to do it.

The Power Rankings for this week's Champions Tour event, the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn: