Insperity Championship: Saturday notebook

May 04, 2013

By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Gene Sauers birdied three of his final five holes, including a chip-in from 25 yards out at the par-4 17th, to shoot a 6-under 66 and take a two-stroke lead over first-round leader Mike Goodes through 36 holes of the 2013 Insperity Championship. Sauers rebounded from a double bogey at the 17th yesterday, by holing out on the second-to-last hole to extend his lead to two shots over Goodes. Sauers’ two-round total of 8-under 136 is the highest 36-hole total in the history of the Insperity Championship. The previous high had been 9-undre 135 on two occasions.

-- Just five players are under par after 36 holes, the fewest under par in a non-major on the Champions Tour after the first two rounds since there were only three in red figures after two days of the 2003 Verizon Classic. 

-- Sauers is seeking to win his first TOUR event since the 2002 Air Canada Championship on the PGA TOUR. A win would end a victory drought of 10 years, 8 months and 3 days, or 76 PGA TOUR events/9 Champions Tour starts. Last week he teamed with Kenny Perry to finish T2 at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf. His top individual effort to date on the Champions Tour is a T3 at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.

-- Sauers’ best finish on the PGA TOUR at The Woodlands Country Club came in 1986 when he was T48.

-- Sauers is attempting to join Rocco Mediate (Allianz Championship) as the second first-time winner on the Champions Tour this year, and if successful, he’d also be the third player to claim his first Champions Tour title at this event – 2007/Bernhard Langer, 2011/Brad Faxon.

-- Sauers will also try to become the seventh player to claim a title on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Tour (1998 South Carolina Classic), and first since Kirk Triplett at the 2012 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.

-- Sauers can also become the fifth player to win the Insperity Championship in his first appearance in the event, joining Larry Nelson (2004), Bernhard Langer (2007), Fred Couples (2010) and Brad Faxon (2011).

-- Mike Goodes will be playing in the final grouping at the Insperity Championship for the second straight year. Last year at The Woodlands Country Club, Goodes finished T3, one of two third-place efforts during the 2012 campaign.  

-- Second-round leaders have gone on to win five of the previous nine Insperity Championships, including each of the last two years. In 2013, 36-hole leaders have won three of the previous seven tournaments but not since David Frost led the Toshiba Classic after two rounds and went on to victory in mid-March.

-- The winner of the Insperity Championship has come from the final grouping five times in the previous nine years, including each of the last two tournaments at The Woodlands. In 2013, the winner has come from the final grouping five of seven times, and there has been no winner this year come from further back than the 2nd to last grouping on Sunday.

-- The winner of tomorrow’s Insperity Championship will earn 270 Charles Schwab Cup points and none of the players who are currently ranked in the top three figures to pick up any additional points at this event. Bernhard Langer (928 points), the current Schwab Cup leader, and David Frost (676 points), his closest pursuer, are both T31 after 36 holes this week. Tom Pernice, Jr. (488 points), currently in third place, is T24. Points are awarded for top-10 finishes during the season and the player earning the most Schwab Cup points at the end of the official season will earn a $1 million payout. Gene Sauers, the 36-hole tournament leader this week, is currently T15 with 218 points.

-- With slightly better weather conditions today, the field averaged 74.444 for Round 2 vs. 75.778 on Friday. There were seven scores below 70 today compared to just one yesterday (Mike Goodes). Overall on Saturday, 18 players broke par compared to just seven in Round 1. Through two rounds, the par-3 14th hole has played as the most difficult (3.364), yielding just nine birdies.

-- Dave Stockton, Johnny Miller and Tony Jacklin teamed up to shoot 11-under and win the second annual  3M Oil & Gas Greats of Golf Competition. The defending champions, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player finished second, four strokes back. All four three-man teams utilized an 18-hole scramble format. Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd and David Graham teamed to finish third at 6-under with Charles Coody, Don January and Gene Littler combining for a team score of 4-under.

-- England’s Barry Lane, an open qualifier this week, made the biggest move of the day, jumping 46 spots into a T6 after posting a 67. David Frost’s 69 today moved him up 40 places into a T31. 

-- One day after carding an 84, Duffy Waldorf shot 71, an improvement of 13 strokes that matched the tournament record for largest positive turnaround from one day to the next. In 2010, Peter Jacobsen also shot 84-71 for his first two rounds at the Insperity Championship. With better weather today, Larry Nelson also improved his first-round score by 12 strokes (81-69) and both David Frost (80-69) and Steve Pate (82-71) were 11 strokes better.