Power Rankings: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai

January 14, 2013
Vartan Kupelian,

Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.

Dan Forsman is the defending champion this week at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, which is being held at Hualalai GC for the 17th straight year. The purse for the elite 40-player field is $1.8 million.

Five players will be making their debuts at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. They are Roger Chapman, a two-time major champion last year on the Champions Tour (Senior PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open); Joe Daley (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship); Willie Wood, Kirk Triplett and Steve Elkington.

Wood, a two-time winner, and Triplett, the Champions Tour Rookie of the Year, posted their first victories. Elkington won 10 times on the PGA TOUR and is making his Champions Tour debut.

On the flip side, Hale Irwin will make his 18th consecutive appearance in the event. He won twice, in 1997 and 2007. The 2007 victory was the 45th of Irwin’s incomparable Champions Tour career, 16 more than No. 2 on the all-time wins list, Lee Trevino.

This week’s Power Rankings for the Champions Tour’s season-opener at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai:

Power Rankings: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Rank Player   Comment
Tom LEHMAN Tom LEHMAN Who else would you start with except the two-time defending Charles Schwab Cup Champion? Lehman is back in search of a three-peat. He was runner-up here in 2011 behind John Cook and finished T12 last year behind Dan Forsman so he likes golf in Hawaii.
Bernhard LANGER Bernhard LANGER The most consistent player of 2012 will expect to finish in the top 10 again. That’s where he finished in 17 of 20 starts last year, including 15 of the final 16 events. T15 at Mitsubishi Classic last year before T3-2-T2 finishes to start the campaign on the mainland. 2009 winner at Hualalai.
Fred COUPLES Fred COUPLES Opened 2012 with an 11th-place finish in Hawaii, then reeled off a T8 at the Toshiba Classic, a win at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic and a T6 at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf. But those four tournaments came three months apart in an abbreviated 11-tournament season.
Michael ALLEN Michael ALLEN A very fast start last year included a T3 in Hawaii. He was the first multiple winner in ‘12, capturing the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf (with David Frost) a week later. A contender every week.
John COOK John COOK The 2011 winner at Hualalai tied for third last year with Allen, 3 shots behind Forsman. Despite an excellent season, Cook didn’t win on the Champions Tour for the first time since his arrival in 2007. But he had 10 top-10 finishes and enjoyed an outstanding major championship season.