Notebook: Round 2, Nature Valley First Tee Open

September 28, 2013
By Champions Tour staff

Weather: Mostly sunny with high temperatures in the mid-70s and winds from the WNW at 5-15 mph.

Second-round leaderboard: 1. Tom Lehman 67-67--134 (-10); 2. Russ Cochran 68-67--135 (-9); T3. Bernhard Langer 63-74--137 (-7), Kirk Triplett 67-70--137 (-7); T5. John Cook 70-68--138 (-6), Dan Forsman 68-70--138 (-6), Doug Garwood 67-71--138 (-6), Chien Soon Lu 71-67--138 (-6)

-- Tom Lehman and Russ Cochran matched 5-under-par 67s at Pebble Beach and Lehman’s birdie at the 18th hole today allowed him to move one stroke in front of Cochran after two rounds on the Nature Valley First Tee Open. Lehman’s score at Pebble included seven birdies and two bogeys while Cochran was bogey free on his round.

Tom Lehman (67-67--134/-10)

-- Lehman shoots for his first win of the 2013 season and is attempting to end a victory drought of 15 events or 10 months, 24 days.

-- Lehman is trying to notch his eighth career title on the Champions Tour and it would come in his 78th career start on the circuit.

-- Should he go on to victory on Sunday, Lehman would become the 17th different winner this year and extend to five his streak of years winning at least one Champions Tour event.

-- Prior to today, Lehman has been an outright Saturday leader four times in his Champions Tour career and gone on to win on three occasions.

-- This week, Lehman is making his third appearance in the Nature Valley First Tee Open At Pebble Beach and first since 2010. He finished T3 in 2009 and T25 in 2010.

-- His best effort thus far in 15 starts on the 2013 Champions Tour is a T2 at the Greater Gwinnett Championship outside of Atlanta in late April…Was also T3 at the Encompass Championship near Chicago in late June.

-- Lehman’s 36-hole stats: Fairways: 21-28/T12 Greens In Regulation: 30-36/1st Putts: 29.0/T43

-- Lehman will play in the final grouping on Sunday for the first time since this year’s Boeing Classic where he eventually finished T4 near Seattle.

-- On the PGA TOUR, Lehman was second at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2003. He also won the unofficial Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational in 1998.

Russ Cochran (68-67—135/-9)

-- Cochran is shooting for his fifth career title on the Champions Tour and second of the 2013 season. Earlier this year, he ended a two-year victory drought by prevailing over Jay Don Blake at the Principal Charity Classic.

-- A win tomorrow would be make Cochran a multiple winner in a season for the second time in his Champions Tour career. In 2010, Cochran won consecutive events – Posco E&C Songdo Championship, SAS Championship.

-- Cochran is also trying to become the seventh player this year with a pair of Champions Tour titles – Bernhard Langer, David Frost, Kenny Perry, Rocco Mediate, Esteban Toledo and Mark Wiebe.

-- Cochran is making his fifth career appearance in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and his best finish on the Monterey Peninsula in this event is T6 in 2010. That same year, Cochran won the pro-junior portion of the tournament with Spencer Jones from The First Tee of Cleveland County.

-- Cochran will play in the final grouping on Sunday for the first time since the 2011 Boeing Classic where he finished second to Mark Calcavecchia, losing in a playoff.

Second-round notes/Statistics at the Nature Valley First Tee Open At Pebble Beach

-- Thus far on the 2013 Champions Tour, second-round leaders/co-leaders have won 10 of the first 20 stroke-play events, including five of the last six tournaments.

-- Second-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this event five of the previous nine years – Craig Stadler (2004), Hale Irwin (2005), Gil Morgan (2007), Jeff Sluman (2008) and Ted Schulz (2010).

-- The winner will earn 270 Charles Schwab Cup points. Kenny Perry, the current Schwab Cup leader, is idle this week but Perry’s closest pursuer, Bernhard Langer, is currently in third place in the tournament and stands to pick up significant ground on the leader with a high finish tomorrow. At the end of the season, the player earning the most Schwab Cup points will earn a $1 million payout.

-- The winner of the Nature Valley First Tee Open has come from the final grouping three times in the previous nine years at Pebble Beach – Scott Simpson (2006), Ted Schulz (2010), Kirk Triplett (2012). On the 2013 Champions Tour, the winner has come from the last grouping 14 times in 20 tournaments, including nine of the last 11 events.

-- Taiwan’s Chien Soon Lu started his second nine at Del Monte with a run of three straight birdies and an eagle, matching the tournament-best birdie-eagle run of Tom Pernice at Pebble Beach in Round 3 of the 2010 event. Lu eventually posted a 67 after making bogey on two of his final three holes.

-- Mark Brooks and John Inman carded the low rounds of the day at Del Monte, both shooting 6-under 66s. For Brooks, his 66 today matched his best round of the year (66-Rd. 2/Dick’s Sporting Goods Open; Rd.1/Shaw Charity Classic). Brooks’ round moved him up 37 spots in the standings into a T32, the biggest move by a player in the field. For Inman, a rookie on the Champions Tour, it was his career-best round on the circuit by three strokes and moved him up 32 spots in the standings into a T9.

-- Lehman and his junior partner, Parker Hill (Maple Grove, Minn.) from The First Tee of Three Rivers Park District share the lead in the First Tee Junior Pro-Am competition with the team of Kirk Triplett and his junior partner, Michelle Xie (Palo Alto, Calif.) from the First Tee of Silicon Valley. Both teams posted better-ball scores of 14-under 130 through the first 36 holes. For the second consecutive year, the cut in the pro-junior fell at 8-under 136 and six of nine teams advanced to play on Sunday through a scorecard playoff.

-- Defending champion Kirk Triplett birdied all the par 5s today at Pebble Beach in recording a two-under 70 and he stands T3 at 7-under 137 through the first 36 holes. He’s put himself in position to win a second straight Nature Valley First Tee Open title, a feat accomplished by Jeff Sluman in 2008-09. Last year after the first 36 holes, Triplett was T6 and four strokes back.

-- First-round leader Bernhard Langer struggled in the second round at Pebble Beach and posted a 74. After making nine birdies at Del Monte yesterday that resulted in a bogey-free 63 and a four-stroke lead, Langer made just two birdies at Pebble Beach today along with two bogeys and double-bogey to fall back into a T3, three shots off the pace

-- Scoring averages for the two courses, 2013 vs. 2012, along with rounds in the 60s for each layout in each round.

2012 Pebble Beach/Del Monte   2013 Pebble Beach/Del Monte.
Rd. 1 74.659/1 71.600/10   Rd. 1 74.976/0 70.550/14
Rd. 2 72.795/5 71.268/9   Rd. 2 72.875/7 70.878/12

-- Through two rounds, the hardest hole at Pebble Beach has been the par-5 14th (5,432), yielding only nine birdies. The easiest hole at Pebble Beach has been the par-5 6th hole (4.704), giving up an eagle and 32 birdies. The hardest hole at Del Monte was the par-3 6th hole,(3.284), giving up nine total birdies. The par-5 17t hole (4.605) has played as the easiest, giving up four eagles and 32 birdies.

-- Russ Cochran (PB), John Cook (PB) posted the only bogey-free round on Saturday … Tom Pernice  Jr. has hit 25/28 fairways while Tom Lehman leads in in greens hit in regulation, hitting 31 of 36 … Jeff Hart has averaged just 25.5 putts per round …Tom Lehman leads the field in birdies made with 14 while Russ Cochran has made just two bogeys.