Notebook: Round 3, Insperity Championship

May 05, 2013

By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

Weather: Sunny with temperatures reaching the low-70s and winds from the NNW at 10-15 with gusts to 20 mph.

Final Leaderboard: Esteban Toledo 72-71-67—210 (-6) (wins playoff with par-4 on the third extra hole); Mike Goodes 69-69-72---210 (-6), Gene Sauers 70-66-74—210 (-6); Mark Calcavecchia 75-69-69—213 (-3), Loren Roberts 72-69-72—213 (-3); Jay Haas 73-75-67—215 (-1), Barry Lane 77-67-71—215 (-1).

On Cinco de Mayo, Mexico’s Esteban Toledo two-putted for a par from 12 feet on No. 17, the third playoff hole, and then watched Mike Goodes miss a six-foot par putt to hand him his first career victory on the Champions Tour. Gene Sauers, the third member of the playoff and the 36-hole tournament leader, appeared headed to victory until making a triple-bogey eight at the par-5 15th hole, the easiest hole on the course, hitting his tee shot out of bounds and then three putting. He was eliminated on the second playoff hole after finding the water with his 8-iron second shot at No. 18 found the water. Toledo started the final round six strokes back of Sauers and he eventually shot 67, equaling the best Sunday round.

With His Victory – Esteban Toledo…

-- Claims his first victory on the Champions Tour in his ninth career start and joins Rocco Mediate as the only other first-time winner on the 2013 Champions Tour as well as the second rookie to win this year.

-- Becomes the first player from Mexico to win an event on the Champions Tour. He earns an immediate one-year exemption on the circuit from today’s date and also receives a two-year exemption into the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.

-- Wins a TOUR-sponsored event for the first time since the 2005 Lake Erie Charity Classic on the Tour, ending a drought of seven years, 10 months, 1 day.

-- Becomes the first Q-school graduate to win on the Champions Tour since Eduardo Romero won the 2006 JELD-WEN Tradition in Oregon. Toledo finished T4 last year at the Champions Tour’s National Qualifying Tournament.

-- Collects 270 Charles Schwab Cup points and moves into the top 10 in the season-long race.

-- Earns a check for $270,000, easily his largest as a professional.

-- His best finish in 289 career starts on the PGA TOUR was a second at the 2000 B.C. Open and a T2 at the 2002 Buick Open.

-- Previous-best finish in nine appearances on the PGA TOUR in Houston was a T17 at the 2000 Shell Houston Open.

-- Matches the largest come-from-behind win in Insperity Championship history, coming from seven strokes back as did Larry Nelson when he won the inaugural event in 2004.

-- Becomes 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).

Tournament Notes

-- Toledo’s winning total of 6-under 210 is the highest score to win a 54-hole tournament since Jerry Pate won the 2008 Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii with a 5-under 211 total for three rounds.

-- Toledo became the first Insperity Championship winner to not shoot three sub-par scores. His even-par 72 on Friday marked the second straight stroke play event on the Champions Tour that the winner started with a score of par/worse. Bernhard Langer opened with 1-over 73 before winning the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship in Atlanta two weeks ago.

-- Only seven players broke par in the tournament, the fewest in a 54-hole event since only five players finished below par at the 2007 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.

-- Today’s playoff was only the second in tournament history and the first since 2004 when Larry Nelson beat Hale Irwin with a birdie on the first extra hole at Augusta Pines. The three-man playoff was also the second overtime session on the 2013 Champions Tour, the first with three players since the 2010 Senior PGA Championship when Tom Lehman defeated Fred Couples and David Frost on the first extra hole. It was the first three-hole playoff since the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship when Fred Couples defeated John Cook at Westchester Country Club.

-- The field average for the 2013 Insperity Championship was 74.643, easily the highest ever for this event. The previous highest scoring average at The Woodlands Country Club was 72.554 in 2009 when the course ranked as the 9th hardest of 26 events. With The Woodlands Country Club course playing +2.643 over par this year, it’s the toughest course for a non-major championship on the Champions Tour since the 2007 Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am where the stroke average at the TPC Tampa Bay was 74.071 (+3.071).

-- If not for an opening-round 77 (T52) England’s Barry Lane, an open qualifier this week, could have been in the mix at the Insperity Championship. His weekend rouns of 67-71 moved him up into a T6 this week and earned him a spot in the field at The Principal Charity Classic. Champions Tour regulations allow the highest non-exempt player to finish among the top 10, earn a spot into the next co-sponsored event.

-- Loren Roberts and Mark Calcavecchia both finished T4 this week and it was their best finish on the Champions Tour in a while. Roberts’ performance this week in Houston was his best since a victory last year at the Toshiba Classic in March. Calcavecchia’s T4 this week was his best since he was third near the end of last year at the AT&T Championship.

-- Bernhard Langer’s even-par 72 in the final round was a bit unusual in that he made 18 straight pars. He also made par on his last five holes on Saturday and has made 23 straight pars going into the Senior PGA Championship.

-- Both Tommy Armour III (shoulder) and Rocco Mediate (back) withdrew prior to the start of their final round.