Round 2 Notebook: ACE Group Classic

February 18, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Partly cloudy with highs in the low-80s and winds from the SSW in the afternoon at 5-15 mph.

Kenny Perry was on fire for a second straight day, making 11 birdies to shoot a Champions Tour career-best 10-under-par 62 on Saturday. Perry's round matched the course record at the Talon Course at TwinEagles. More importantly, his 36-hole total of 18-under 126 established the all-time lowest score in relation to par for the first two rounds in Champions Tour history. Perry's number easily shattered the previous ACE Group Classic tournament record by four strokes. Larry Mize, the first-round leader of the event, backed up his 62 yesterday with a 5-under 67 today but despite being bogey free for the first two days, he trails Perry by three strokes.

Round 2 Leaderboard: 1) Kenny Perry/126 (-18); 2) Larry Mize/129 (-15); 3)Tom Lehman/130 (-14); 4) Bernhard Langer/131 (-13); 5) Mike Goodes/133 (-11)

Kenny Perry's best 36-hole score in his PGA TOUR career at a par-72 course was 14-under 130 at the 2001 Buick Open at Warwick Hills G&CC in Michigan. He went on to win that event by two strokes over Chris DiMarco and Jim Furyk. Numerically, Perry's low on TOUR was 12-under 128 at the 2005 Bank of America Colonial and he went on to win that event by seven shots over Billy Mayfair.

• The all-time low 36-hole scores in Champions Tour history:

36-hole score Player Event 36-hole details Result
124 (-16) Bruce Fleisher 2002 RJR Championship 16 birdies Won
126 (-18) Kenny Perry 2012 ACE Group Classic 20 birdies ----
126 (-14) Jim Colbert 1994 GTE West Classic 15 birdies Lost
126 (-16) Hale Irwin 1997 Vantage Championship 14 birdies, 1 eagle Won
127 (-17) Tom Kite 2001 Gold Rush Classic 15 birdies, 2 eagles Won
Jim Ahern 2003 Music City Champ. 14 birdies, 2 eagles Won
Don Pooley 2006 Mastercard Champ. 17 birdies Lost
Bernhard Langer 2007 Administaff Small Business Classic 16 birdies, 1 eagle Won
Russ Cochran 2011 Mitsubishi Electric Championship 13 birdies, 2 eagles Lost
Fred Couples 2011 AT&T Championship 13 birdies, 2 eagles Won

Kenny Perry's 62 today was also the best second-round score in tournament history. Both Al Geiberger (1996) and Jay Overton (2003) had posted 63s on Saturday at this event.

• A player has come from behind to win the ACE Group Classic 12 times, including six of the last 10 years. 13 of the previous 24 events in Naples have been decided by either a playoff or just one stroke.

• Here's some fun facts on tomorrow's final grouping:

Player Kenny Perry (-18) Larry Mize (-15) Tom Lehman (-14)
Last Win 2011 SAS Championship 2010 Montreal Championship 2011 Regions Tradition
Best 2012
Tour Finish
T31 at both the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the Allianz Championship T18 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai T12 at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Career Finish
1 in 14 career starts on the Champions Tour ... 2011 SAS Championship 1 in 68 career starts on the Champions Tour2010 Montreal Championship 5 in 45 career starts on the Champions Tour, including three in 2011Allianz Championship, Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, Regions Tradition
14 official victories with one in Florida -- 2005 Bay Hill Invitational; also won 2005 (w/John Huston) & 2008 (w/Scott Hoch) Merrill Lynch Shootout in Naples 4, including 1987 Masters Tournament 5, including 1996 British Open and TOUR Championship
Did You Know? Playing in the final group for the third time in his Champions Tour career -- T5 11 Boeing Classic, 11 SAS Championship Seeking his second career title on the Champions Tour and second in last four starts on the circuitAttempting to become the 10th player to win the ACE Group Classic in first attemptVoted as the Champions Tours Rookie of the Year in 2011. Playing in the final group for the first time on the Champions TourSeeking his second career title and trying to end a 32-event victory droughtPreviousbest finish in three appearances at the ACE Group Classic was T11 in 2010. Playing in the final group for the sixth time on the Champions Tour and has won three times from this positionSeeking sixth career title and trying to end 17-event victory drought..Attempting to become the 10th player to win the ACE Group Classic in first attemptThe Champions Tour Player of the Year for 2011, becoming the first player ever to achieve that honor on all three Tours.

• The winner of The ACE Group Classic has come out of the final grouping in each of the last 11 years. The last time it didn't happen in Naples was 2000 when Lanny Wadkins fired a final-round 64 to rally from three strokes back to force a playoff that he eventually won.

• Dating back to last year, the tournament winner has played in the final grouping in the last 12 events on the Champions Tour. The last time the winner was not in the last grouping was at the 2011 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach when Jeff Sluman was in the third-to-last group.

• There were 53 rounds under par today compared with 47 rounds under par on Friday at TwinEagles. Of those 53 rounds, 39 were in the 60s compared to 27 sub-70 scores yesterday. The stroke average for the field today was 69.949, compared to 70.962 on Friday. Overall, there were 9 eagles and 354 birdies today vs. 11 eagles and 327 birdies in Round 1. 10 of the 18 holes are averaging a score under par through the first two rounds and the par-5 13th hole is playing as the easiest (4.516) hole.

• Tomorrow's winner will earn 240 Charles Schwab Cup points. Kenny Perry, the tournament leader does not have any Schwab Cup points yet in 2012. Dan Forsman, the current Schwab Cup leader, is currently T11 through two rounds of the ACE Group Classic. Points are only awarded at each event for top-10 finishes and at the conclusion of the season, the player earning the most Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout.

Loren Roberts, a two-time ACE Group Classic champion and the last player to win at TwinEagles in 2006, ran his streak of par/better rounds in Naples to 20 straight with a 3-under 69 today. Of the 20 consecutive rounds at par/better, he's carded 12 scores in the 60s and has a scoring average of 69.00.

Larry Mize and Mike Goodes, an open qualifier on Tuesday, have not made a bogey over the first 36 holes this week...Bernhard Langer has eagled the par-5 17th hole both Friday and Saturday...Hale Irwin and Tom Lehman have missed just two fairways through the first two rounds (26/28)...Larry Mize leads in greens in regulation (33/36)...Kenny Perry has had just 51 total putts for two rounds.

• Mark O'Meara withdrew after nine holes today with the flu. He was 4-over for the tournament when he withdrew.

• Because of the threat on afternoon thunderstorms, final-round play will begin at 9:15 a.m. (ET) Sunday.