Notebook: Greater Gwinnett Championship, Round 3

April 21, 2013

Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

DULUTH, Ga. -- Bernhard Langer used a clutch chip-in birdie on the 10th hole and two more birdies on his final three holes to ease past Tom Lehman, his partner next week at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, and Tom Pernice, Jr., winning the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes at the TPC Sugarloaf.

It was Langer’s son, Jason, who figured in the morning that his father would need 67 to win and that’s exactly the score Langer shot in breezy conditions. Langer took the lead with three straight birdies (Nos. 3-5) on the front nine and shook off a three-putt bogey at the par-4 seventh. Pernice appeared as if he might stage a late rally when he holed an 8-iron second shot from 157 yards for an eagle at the par-4 15th hole to close to within two of Langer’s lead.   

-- Langer won for the second time in his last four starts on the Champions Tour (ACE Group Classic), becoming the first two-time winner on the circuit in 2013. His win today also marked the fifth time in his six full seasons on the Champions Tour that he’s claimed multiple titles.

-- Langer’s 18th career victory in his 108th career start on the Champions Tour moved him into T13th place with Mike Hill and Bruce Fleisher on the all-time Champions Tour wins list. Today’s victory was also his 81st worldwide. 

-- Langer claimed his fourth career title in the state of Georgia (1985, 1993 Masters Tournament, 2009 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with Tom Lehman).
-- In one appearance on the PGA TOUR in the Atlanta area, Langer missed the cut at the 1988 Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic. 

-- Langer has now been out of the top 10 only twice since he was T17 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic in late March, 2012. 

-- Langer's 73 in the opening round was the highest start by a winner on the Champions Tour since Russ Cochran opened with 73 and still went on to win the 2010 Posco E&C Songdo Championship in South Korea.

-- Langer was T29 after his opening-round 73 this week. The last player to come from a position further back than this was Phil Blackmar when he was T45 after the first round of the 2009 AT&T Championship and went on to win the tournament.

-- Langer earned 270 Charles Schwab Cup points and increased his leading yearly total to 928 points. David Frost remains in second place with 619 points.  

-- Langer earned a check for $270,000 and increased his 2013 earnings to $947,779 and raised his all-time Champions Tour career earnings to $10,989,907.

-- For the fifth time in the first six Champions Tour events in 2013, the winner has come from the final grouping on Sunday. The only time it didn’t happen was at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic when Michael Allen was in the second-to-last grouping and rallied to win.

-- Two former winners of the BellSouth Classic finished among the top 10 this week in the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship. Mark Calcavecchia, a winner at Atlanta Country Club in 1995, finished T5 this week at TPC Sugarloaf, while Wayne Levi, a two-time winner at Atlanta Country Club in 1985 and 1990, finished T7, his first top 10 finish in an individual stroke-play event on the Champions Tour since he was T3 at the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

-- In his first tournament back on the Champions Tour since the ACE Group Classic, Kenny Perry finished T36. Perry underwent left knee surgery on February 19 in Nashville and has been out of action recovering since the operation.

-- Frost’s streak of eight straight top-10 finishes dating back to last season, ended today when he finished T36. It was Frost’s highest finish in a Champions Tour event since he was T48 at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open last summer.

-- Hale Irwin played in his 403rd Champions Tour event this week and now has a PGA TOUR/Champions Tour combined total of 1,062. This week’s appearance in the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship moved him out of a tie with Dale Douglass into solo fourth place on the all-time list for most combined Tour starts. Miller Barber is the all-time leader with 1,297 combined career appearances (694 PGA TOUR/603 Champions Tour). Irwin finished T36 at TPC Sugarloaf.

-- The field scoring average for the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship was 73.744, the highest for a non major championship since the 2008 Ginn Championship (74.280). Just 16 players broke par in the tournament and both Bernhard Langer and Jeff Sluman shot 66 on Saturday, the lowest rounds of the tournament.  

-- The hardest hole for the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship was the par-4 ninth hole (4.440) yielding just nine birdies in the event. Thus far through six events, it’s also the most difficult on the 2013 Champions Tour, surpassing the par-4 9th hole at the Old Course at Broken Sound which played to a stroke average of 4.342 during this year’s Allianz Championship.

-- Tommy Armour III withdrew prior to the start of his final round due to illness. Craig Stadler withdrew after 15 holes with a foot injury. Joe Daley was disqualified today for signing an incorrect scorecard.