Notebook: Senior PGA Championship, Round 4

May 26, 2013
By Champions Tour staff

Kohki Idoki’s first trip to the United States will always be a memorable one. A long-time player on the Japan Golf Tour, Idoki surprised a star-studded field with a two-stroke victory over Jay Haas and Kenny Perry to win the 74th Senior PGA Championship. Perry started the day with a two-stroke advantage over Jay Haas and looked to be in control with birdies on three of his first five holes, but failed to make a birdie until the final hole when the contest had been decided. Idoki started five strokes back, but played a bogey-free round and took the lead for good when he made a 15-foot downhill birdie putt at No. 17.

• Kohki Idoki, who resides in Osaka, becomes the first Asian player to win a major championship on the Champions Tour and he earns a full one-year exemption (thru May 26, 2014) on Tour as well as a five-year exemption into the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

• Idoki’s earns a check for $378,000 as well as 756 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race based on double points being awarded at all five Champions Tour major championships.

• With his victory, Idoki joins the 23 previous players who won the Senior PGA Championship in their first attempts. Since the start of the Champions Tour in 1980 that group includes, Arnold Palmer (1980), Miller Barber (1981), Gary Player (1986), Tom Wargo (1993), Hale Irwin (1996), Allen Doyle (1999), Doug Tewell (2000), Fuzzy Zoeller (2002), Mike Reid (2005), Denis Watson (2007) and Michael Allen (2009).   

• With the win, Idoki earns a berth in the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC in Rochester, NY.

• Idoki also becomes the second consecutive first-time winner on the Champions Tour following Esteban Toledo’s victory at the Insperity Championship. In addition, Rocco Mediate was a first-time winner earlier this year at the Allianz Championship.

• The victory also moved Idoki into second place in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race with 756 points. Bernhard Langer continues to lead with 928 points followed by David Frost (676), Jay Haas (656) and Kenny Perry (617).

• Idoki becomes just the second player from Japan to win a Champions Tour event, joining World Golf Hall of Famer Isao Aoki with that distinction. Aoki was a nine-time winner on Tour.

• Jay Haas birdied the final hole to grab a share of the lead and it was his second runner-up finish in the tournament. A two-time winner (2006, 2008), he was second to Doug Tewell in 2004.

• Although his T13 finish failed to earn him any Charles Schwab Cup points, Bernhard Langer, the current leader in that race, certainly made a great rebound from a disastrous opening-round 8-over 79 on Thursday. Langer followed with rounds three consecutive rounds of 67 and played bogey-free golf over his final 55 holes.

• Canadian Jim Rutledge turned in the most impressive round in the tournament on Sunday, shooting a 7-under 64, the low round of the week. He finished T 6, matching his best finish on the Champions Tour at the 2011 Allianz Championship.

• Jeff Coston (Blaine, Wash.) and Mark Mielke (East Norwich, N.Y.) shared honors as the low club professionals in the field. Each finished with 72-hole scores of even-par 284 and finished T28. A total of five players made the 36-hole cut. The three other club professionals who made the cut were Sonny Skinner (Sylvester, Ga./T35), Don Berry (Rogers, Minn./T35) and Bob Gaus (St. Louis, Mo./T59).

• Mark O’Meara continues to enjoy a productive 2013 season. He posted rounds of 68-65 on the weekend which were instrumental in his solo fourth-place finish. It was his third straight top-10 finish and his sixth overall this year. He now shares the lead in that category with David Frost

• None of the players in the field posted four straight sub-par rounds this year.

• The overall scoring average for the event was 72.80 and the most difficult hole was No. 6 with an average score of 3.486 (+.486), while No. 4 was the easiest at 4.686 (-.314).

• Three Japanese players finished the tournament with the fewest putts, including 2013 champion Idoki. The others were Joe Ozaki and Kazuhiro Takami. They all had 108 for the week.
• Long-time St. Louis resident Hale Irwin finished T56. Jay Delsing, another St. Louis resident, finished T69 and local club pro Bob Gaus finished T59.

• Next year’s Senior PGA Championship will be held at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich. It was the site of the 2012 Senior PGA Championship.