Notebook: Wiebe handles wind, leads by two over Singh

Marco Garcia/PGA TOUR
Mark Wiebe will try to hold off Champions Tour rookie Vijay Singh on Sunday.
September 21, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff

With trade winds gusting up to 25 mph in the afternoon at Kapolei Golf Club, Mark Wiebe crafted a 3-under-par 69 and maintained a two-stroke lead over an emerging Vijay Singh after 36 holes of the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship. Wiebe had four birdies in his first 12 holes and appeared to be cruising, however, he played his last six holes in 1-over par. After shooting 69 yesterday, Singh got off to a fast start on Saturday with four birdies in his first six holes. He then made seven straight pars before adding two more birdies coming in for a bogey-free 66.

-- Wiebe holds the outright lead heading into the final round of a Champions Tour event for a fifth time in his career. In the previous four times he’s been in this position, Wiebe went on to win twice (2007 SAS Championship, 2008 Cap Cana Championship). Prior to today, the last time he was in this position was at the 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open and he eventually finished third.

-- Wiebe is shooting to win his fifth career title on the Champions Tour. In late July, Wiebe won the Senior British Open Championship, first major title, when he defeated Bernhard Langer in a five-hole sudden-death playoff at Royal Birkdale, England.

-- Wiebe has never won multiple titles in a season. He won all four of his Champions Tour titles in different seasons as well as both of his wins on the PGA TOUR.

-- Wiebe has played Kapolei Golf Club’s par-3s better than the par-5s thru two rounds of the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship. He’s a cumulative 4-under on the par-3s and just 2-under on the four par-5s on the course, making birdie on the 14th in each of the first two rounds.

-- Wiebe will play in the final grouping on Sunday for the first time since the 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. The winner has come from the last grouping on Sunday 13 times in 20 official events this year.

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

-- Thus far on the 2013 Champions Tour, second-round leaders/co-leaders have won nine of the first 19 stroke-play events, including four of the last five tournaments.

-- World Golf Hall of Fame member and 34-time PGA TOUR winner Vijay Singh carded a bogey-free 6-under 66 and he’s now made just one bogey over his first 36 holes on the Champions Tour. Singh is bidding to become just the 17th player in Champions Tour history to win in his debut on the circuit. He could join Rocco Mediate as the second player this year to win in his first appearance on the Champions Tour. Mediate captured the Allianz Championship, the Champions Tour’s first full-field event this season. Here’s Singh’s quotes after the second round:

How is your game from your perspective?

Singh: "Pretty good. You know, I've been trying for the last five, six days, to change a little bit on my golf swing. I've been kind of nervous coming over here, you know, and how it was going to work out. Yesterday was a shaky one. I kind of went back and forth trying to do what I was supposed to do. And my old, old swing… But today I trusted it. I did, I had a great warm-up. I said go ahead and play with it. It came out good."

Can you post a really nice number tomorrow?

Singh: “Well, you know, I'm putting well. I started putting with this shorter putter with normal weight, a weighted putter. And I'm beginning to release the ball pretty good, pretty well. And so, that's a good, good part of it. And again, the wind is really tricky out here, you know. You can get lucky with the, the wind or not. You may get a big gust when you hit a good putt on the wind, so. I'm looking good, I feel good. I don't know if I'm going to be nervous or excited tomorrow, but we'll have to wait and see."

Can you talk about your start to the round, making birdie on four of your first six holes?

Singh: “I made some nice putts. I made a good putt on No. 1. Kind of close on No. 2, and I just played solid all day. I had a lot of chances on Nos. 9, 10 and 12; all could have gone in also. I made a good par save on No. 13 and made a good putt on No. 14 for birdie. So, all in all it was very comfortable.”

-- Corey Pavin’s 68 today was his 10th straight round in the 60s on the 2013 Champions Tour, a streak that started with a 69 on Saturday of the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale. Pavin is also currently riding a run 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. The all-time Champions Tour record for most consecutive sub-70 scores is 13 by Hale Irwin in 1999.

-- Champions Tour rookie Brian Henninger birdied two of his last five holes to move up into T3 after two rounds. If either Singh or Henninger go on to victory tomorrow, it would mark the fifth consecutive event won by a rookie on the Champions Tour, an all-time record. Rookies have combined to win seven times thus far in 2013 and either Singh or Henninger could become a record sixth different rookie to win. In addition to five different rookies so far this year, there were five rookies win events in 1989, 1999, 2007.

-- The winner of tomorrow’s Pacific Links Hawaii Championship will earn 270 Charles Schwab Cup points. Kenny Perry, the current Schwab Cup leader, is T58 after 36 holes this week and doesn’t figure to get any additional points. Bernhard Langer (T7) and David Frost (T7), Perry’s closest pursuers in this year’s Schwab Cup race, could both pick up significant Schwab Cup points with good rounds tomorrow. Langer closed his round with an eagle and three straight birdies over his last five holes to post 69 today and move up. At the end of the season, the player earning the most Schwab Cup points will earn a $1 million payout.

-- The par-72 Kapolei Golf Club played to a stroke average of 72.137 today compared to 72.062 on Friday. There were 19 scores in the 60s today compared to 18 sub-70 rounds yesterday. Through 36 holes, the par-4 18th hole has yielded just 16 birdies and has been the hardest hole (4.261). The par-3 16th hole has yielded just 14 birdies and ranks as the second most difficult (3.255) hole. The par-5 14th hole has played as the easiest for the first two days (4.528), giving up two eagles and 83 birdies.

-- Vijay Singh posted the only bogey-free round today….Corey Pavin has hit 26/28 fairways while Vijay Singh leads in greens in regulation, hitting 31 of 36…David Frost has averaged just 25 putts per round…Morris Hatalsky extended his streak of consecutive holes without a three-putt to 206…Russ Cochran was disqualified for not signing his scorecard.