Nature Valley First Tee Open: Round 1 notebook

September 27, 2013
By Champions Tour staff

Bernhard Langer tied the tournament 18-hole scoring record when he fired a 9-under-par 63 on Friday morning at the Del Monte Golf Course. Langer matched Craig Stadler’s second-round 63 in 2004 at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Langer’s 63 also erased the previous first-round scoring record (64) set in 2006 by D.A. Weibring and later matched by Mark Calcavecchia in 2010. Both of those rounds were posted at Del Monte GC. Langer’s Friday round included nine birdies and no bogeys. The three-time Jack Nicklaus Award winner, symbolic of the Champions Tour Player of the Year, also hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation.

-- Bernhard Langer’s four-stroke margin is the largest 18-hole lead in a Champions Tour event since Nick Price led by five strokes at the 2011 Toshiba Classic. Of the players that have held leads of four or more strokes after the first round in Champions Tour annals, 12 of 18 have gone on to win, including the last five. Nick Price was the last to do so at the 2011 Toshiba Classic.

-- This is just the second appearance by Bernhard Langer in this tournament. His only other appearance was in 2007 when he made his Champions Tour debut here in Pebble Beach. He finished T10 that year.

-- While this is just Bernhard Langer’s second start in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, he did play in three U.S. Opens here, missing the cut in 1982 and in 2000, while finishing T23 in 1992. He also played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am seven times with a trio of top-10 finishes. He was T3 1987, T4 in 1988 and T7 in 1985.

-- Bernhard Langer has finished in the top 10 in his last five events, including a solo third-place last week at the Pacific Links Hawai’i Championship.

-- Bernhard Langer and his junior partner Gregory Sibick (The First Tee of Western New York/Buffalo, NY) lead the Pro-Junior competition at 10-under-par 62.

-- The Del Monte Golf Course was the place to be on Friday. Of the top 22 players on the leaderboard, only one played his opening round at Pebble Beach – Scott Hoch, who shot a 2-under-par 70. The only other players to finish under par at Pebble Beach were 1-under-par 71s by Bobby Clampett, Chien Soon Lu, Larry Nelson, Bill Glasson and Tom Pernice, Jr.

-- Defending champion Kirk Triplett is off to a good start, shooting a 5-under-par 67 at Del Monte. He is currently T2. He fired a 2-under-par 70 a year ago at Pebble Beach.

-- Corey Pavin’s string of consecutive rounds in the 60s ended at 11 on Friday after he shot a 5-over-par 77.

-- The 11 straight sub-70 rounds was the best streak on the Champions Tour in 2013. Hale Irwin holds the all-time mark with 13, set in 1999.

-- Jay Haas’ younger brother, Jerry, made his Champions Tour debut on Friday, just 11 days after turning 50. Jerry is the head golf coach at Wake Forest and upstaged his more well-known brother in the opening round, firing a 4-under-par 68 at Del Monte, while Jay shot a 75. He is no stranger to professional golf, however. He won three times on the Tour in 1994 and has also competed on the PGA TOUR and European Tour.

-- Hale Irwin (2005) and Jeff Sluman (2009) are the only two first-round leaders/co-leaders to go on to win this event.

-- Bernhard Langer, Kirk Triplett, Mark McNulty, Dan Forsman, Craig Stadler, and Joey Sindelar were the only players in the 81-man field to post bogey-free rounds. All played at Del Monte.

-- Tony Johnstone, who will serve as one of Nick Price’s vice captains at next week’s Presidents Cup, made his first start in a 54-hole Champions Tour event on Friday. The six-time winner on the European Tour shot a 6-over-par 78.

-- The field averaged 70.550 at Del Monte GC and 74.976 at Pebble Beach on Friday. The average at Pebble Beach was the highest opening-round average in tournament history, surpassing last year’s average of 74.659. The most difficult hole at Del Monte was No. 8 (4.200). The hardest at Pebble Beach was No. 14 (5.756). Surprisingly none of the 41 pros playing at Pebble Beach were able to make birdies on Nos. 8 and 14.