Round 3 Notebook: Insperity Championship

May 06, 2012
Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Sunny skies with high temperatures near 90 degrees and winds from the SE in the afternoon at 10-20 mph.

Final Leaderboard: 1--Fred Funk (-14/202), 2--Tom Lehman (-13/203); 3--Mike Goodes (-10/206); T4--Michael Allen (-8/208), Brad Bryant (-8/208), Bobby Clampett (-8/208), Dan Forsman (-8/208), Bernhard Langer (-8/208)

Fred Funk birdied four of the last five holes to overtake Tom Lehman and win the 2012 Insperity Championship. After making 14 consecutive pars starting at the 2nd hole, Funk trailed by two strokes and appeared headed for a second-place finish after Lehman made the second of his three consecutive birdies at the 12th hole to increase his margin to two strokes. However, Funk rallied by matching Lehman's birdie at the par-5 13th and then he holed short birdie putts at the 15th and 16th holes to move back into a tie for the lead. After both players made pars at No. 17, Funk rifled a 5-iron shot from 174 yards over water to within a foot of the hole at the 18th, forcing Lehman to take dead aim with his second shot at the par-4. His approach shot landed 12 feet from the hole but Lehman's birdie bid just missed on the right side of the cup, setting the stage for Funk's kick-in birdie for the victory.

Fred Funk wins his first Champions Tour event since the 2010 JELD-WEN Tradition, ending a victory drought of one year, eight months, 13 days or 29 Champions Tour tournaments.

Fred Funk claimed his seventh career victory in his 95th career start and he became the first player since Tom Watson (1980 British Open/2007 Senior British Open-Muirfield, Scotland) to win a PGA TOUR tournament and a Champions Tour tournament at the same venue. Fred Funk won the 1992 Shell Houston Open on the Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club.

Fred Funk earned 255 Charles Schwab Cup points and moved up into 12th place in the season-long race with 295 total points. Michael Allen, the current Charles Schwab Cup leader, earned 73 points and increased his total on the season to 923 points. Bernhard Langer remains in second place after also earning 73 Schwab Cup points this week. The Champions Tour's next stop is the Senior PGA Championship where double points will be awarded to the top-10 finishers at the first major championship of the season. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most Charles Schwab Cup points will receive a $1 million payout.

Fred Funk became the seventh different winner this year out of eight tournaments that have been played. He also became the Insperity Championship's eighth different winner in the nine-year history of the event.

Fred Funk's best finish in four previous Insperity Championships was a third-place effort in 2008. He became the ninth consecutive champion to record three consecutive sub-par rounds en route to victory. Funk became the third player this year to win a stroke-play event with three consecutive scores in the 60s, joining Dan Forsman (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai) and Michael Allen (Encompass Insurance Pro-Am).

• For the second time in the last four Champions Tour events, a player has birdied the last hole to win. Fred Funk did so this week at the Insperity Championship, tapping in from less than two feet for birdie on the final hole. At the end of March in Mississippi, Fred Couples made birdie on the last hole to defeat Michael Allen at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

• For the 18th consecutive time, the winner of a Champions Tour event has come from final grouping. The last time it didn't happen was in early July, 2011 when Jeff Sluman rallied to win the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Jeff Sluman was in the third-to-last grouping going into the final round.

• Sponsor exemption Bobby Clampett finished T4 this week, equaling his top career performance on the Champions Tour (T4 2010 SAS Championship). Clampett's effort this week in Houston earned him a spot in The Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, the Champions Tour's next co-sponsored event, in late May.

Michael Allen wasn't able to win a third consecutive Champions Tour event, finishing T4 at this week's Insperity Championship. Allen's 1-under 71 in today's final round ended a streak of sub-70 scores in stroke-play events at eight straight, a 2012 Champions Tour best. Allen has now finished among the top-five in six of his eight starts this year.

• Bogey-free Rounds: R1 (2): Tom Jenkins (66), Gene Jones (69) R2 (3): Bobby Clampett (67), Michael Allen (68), Bob Tway (69) R3 (3): Fred Funk (67), Bernhard Langer (69), James Mason (68),

• Scoring Averages:

Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative 2011 Cumulative
Friday 36.235 35.667 71.901 --- 72.241
Saturday 36.177 35.861 72.038 71.969 72.153
Sunday 35.975 35.911 71.886 71.941 ---

Jeff Freeman, the medalist at last fall's National Qualifying Tournament, shot a final-round 68 and finished T31 in his debut on the Champions Tour.