Notebook: Wiebe takes lead, Singh makes debut

September 20, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

-- Mark Wiebe used a run of six birdies over a seven-hole stretch during the round to post an 8-under-par 64, matching his career-low score on the Champions Tour. Wiebe’s round gave him a two-stroke lead over both Mark Calcavecchia and John Cook, who opened this season with a victory on the Big Island at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. With trade winds gusting up to 25 mph at Kapolei Golf Club, Wiebe, a winner earlier this year at the Senior Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in England, made nine overall birdies and needed only 22 putts in his round.

-- World Golf Hall of Fame member and 34-time PGA TOUR winner Vijay Singh also carded a 3-under-par 69 in his first-ever round on the Champions Tour.

“It went okay. I played well. It was a tricky wind out there. Conditions were tough out there, but scores were low. You have to know where to hit it and how to putt these greens. It’s out there if you play well. I’m not sure if I was nervous or anxious, but I’m very happy to get this round over. I played with Tom Pernice, Jr. and Rocco Mediate and they seemed like they were at home on these greens. I’m changing my golf swing a little bit. It’s not really changing the path of the golf swing, but it’s the move that I’m doing and it’s very awkward. Making a change and coming out here and trying to score is hard. It’s the Champions Tour though and I expect to play well. I’ll need to decide soon what I’m going to do. I kind of like the Champions Tour. There’s a lot of guys I know and I’ve played a lot of golf with over the years. I have not made up my mind yet what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll go back and forth between the Champions Tour and the PGA TOUR.”

Mark Wiebe (31-33--64/-8)

-- Matched his career-low round on the Champions Tour today. Had posted 64 three other times in his Champions Tour career – 2011 Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn (Rd.1), 2012 Constellation Energy SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (Rd.3), 2013 3M Championship (Rd.1). He went on to win the 2011 Greater Hickory Classic event.

-- Friday marks just the third time in his career that Wiebe has held the outright lead after the first round of a Champions Tour event. He led the 2008 Cap Cana Championship after the first round and went on to win in wire-to-wire fashion. Earlier this year, he led after Friday at the 3M Championship, but eventually finished T14.

-- Wiebe won his fourth title on the Champions Tour, and first major championship, when he defeated Bernhard Langer in a five-hole sudden-death playoff at the Senior Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, England.

-- Wiebe was T49 last year at the Pacific Links Championship and was T68 at the 2008 Turtle Bay Championship on the North Shore of Oahu…His best finish in five appearances on the Big Island at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai is a T9 in 2010…His best finish in six career appearances in the Sony Open in Hawaii was a T23 in 1992 at Waialae Country Club on Oahu.

-- Wiebe’s two-stroke lead after Round 1 is the largest on the Champions Tour since Bernhard Langer was up by three strokes on Friday at the ACE Group Classic. Langer went on to win in Naples in wire-to-wire fashion.

First-Round Notes/Statistics at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship

-- Thus far on the 2013 Champions Tour, first-round leaders have won six of the first 19 stroke-play events. However, only one first-round leader (Rocco Mediate/Shaw Charity Classic) has won in the last six tournaments.

-- Defending champion Willie Wood’s bogey-free run at Kapolei ended at 66 straight holes after he made bogey on No. 13. Wood then went on to bogey two of his final five holes and posted a 3-under 69 on Friday (T8).

-- After taking three weeks off, Corey Pavin returned to competition on the Champions Tour and opened with a 4-under-par 68 today. It was Pavin’s ninth straight round in 60s, which moved him out of a tie with Bernhard Langer for the best run of sub-70 scores on the 2013 Champions Tour. Pavin is currently riding a streak of five straight top-10s, including the last four events where he’s finished either second or third. He’s searching for his first victory since the 2012 Allianz Championship.

-- Six of the top eight names on the current Pacific Links Hawaii Championship leaderboard are past champions at the Sony Open in Hawaii – John Cook (1992/T2), Brad Faxon (2001/T5), Corey Pavin (1986-87/T5), Gene Sauers (1989/T8), Vijay Singh (2005/T8) and Jeff Sluman (1999/T8).

-- The par-72 Kapolei Golf Club played to a stroke average of 72.062 on Friday and 18 players recorded rounds in the 60s. Last year on Friday at Kapolei, Peter Senior was the leader after a 7-under 65 and the scoring average for the field was 72.037 with 15 scores in the 60s. The par-4 18th hole played as the most difficult in Round 1 (4.321), yielding just three birdies (Mark Calcavecchia, Rocco Mediate, Kenny Perry). The par-5 14th hole played as the easiest on Friday (4.519), giving up two eagles and 43 birdies.

-- Bruce Summerhays, a three-time winner on the Champions Tour, made his first appearance in an event since he was T52 at the 2010 Principal Charity Classic in Iowa and carded an 82. The 69-year-old Summerhays returned to action after serving a three-year stint as an LDS mission president in Tampa. Fla.

-- Mark Calcavecchia and John Inman were the only two players to post bogey-free rounds on Friday…Bob Gilder and Kenny Perry both hit 16/18 greens in regulation…Corey Pavin hit all 14 fairways off the tee…Mark Wiebe led the field in putting with only 22 putts on Friday…Morris Hatalsky extended his streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt to 188…Duffy Waldorf’s streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt ended at 130 straight when he three-putted his final hole of the day…Tom Pernice, Jr.’s 73 snapped his streak of 17 straight rounds of par/better.