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Champions Tour Update

RECENTLY
The Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of the PGA TOUR season, featured three Champions Tour professionals in the field. Bart Bryant, yet to make his Champions Tour debut after becoming eligible late last year, and Russ Cochran, who shot 67 to Monday qualify for the tournament, both finished T41 at 7-under 273. Fred Funk missed the 36-hole cut by one stroke.

COMING UP
The Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai (Jan. 14-20) will be contested at Hualalai GC for the 17th consecutive year. Dan Forsman is the defending champion. The purse for the 40-player field is $1.8 million. As the opening-season event, the winner of the championship will also become the first to lead the 2013 Charles Schwab Cup points race.

Australian native and former University of Houston standout Steve Elkington is set to make his Champions Tour debut this week. Elkington was a 10-time PGA TOUR winner, including a pair of PLAYERS Championship titles as well as the 1995 PGA Championship. He was also a member of four International Presidents Cup teams.

This year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai will include five players who will be making their debuts at this tournament. New faces include Steve Elkington, Joe Daley, Kirk Triplett, Willie Wood and Roger Chapman. Daley (Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship) and Chapman (Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open) each won major titles in 2012 to qualify for this event for the next five years.

Hale Irwin will make his 18th consecutive appearance in this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. A two-time winner of this event (1997 and 2007), Irwin’s 2007 victory was the last of his 45 career Champions Tour titles, 16 more wins than Lee Trevino, the next-closest player on the all-time wins list.

Loren Roberts established a record for most birdies in a 54-hole event, making 26 at Hualalai in 2006. That mark was tied by Fred Couples in 2011, at the AT&T Championship.

David Frost will begin the 2013 season with a string of 200 holes without a three-putt.

For nine of the last 10 years, the par-72 Hualalai Golf Course has been the easiest layout on the Champions Tour. Here are the yearly stroke averages by the field since 2003:

Year

Scoring Average

O/U Par

Eagles

Birdies

Rounds in the 60s

2012

70.374

-1.626

24

487

50

2011

68.746

-3.254

28

602

78

2010

69.130

-2.870

18

510

66

2009

69.561

-2.439

11

505

50

2008

69.081

-2.919

24

586

75

2007

68.715

-3.285

27

587

78

2006

67.981

-4.019

23

566

75

2005

69.495

-2.505

22

499

65

2004

68.923

-3.077

19

553

73

2003

69.556

-2.444

25

496

52

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP
No player has won the season-opening event and gone on to claim the Charles Schwab Cup at the end of that season.

NUMBERS
7 – The number of World Golf Hall of Fame members who have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship (1985/Peter Thomson, 1994/Jack Nicklaus, 1997 & 2007/Hale Irwin, 2001/Larry Nelson, 2002/Tom Kite, 2009/Bernhard Langer, 2010/Tom Watson).

DID YOU KNOW?
Jack Nicklaus (1994) is the only former winner of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship who didn’t finish the season among the top-30 money-winners. Nicklaus played a limited schedule that season, making only six starts. Dan Forsman, the 2012 winner, finished 25th on the final money list.

QUOTES TO NOTE
“The odd thing is some of the guys out here are guys my son played with. It’s really interesting and fun to see their progress” – Russ Cochran speaks about his fellow competitors at last week’s PGA TOUR Sony Open in Hawaii. Cochran’s son, Ryan, who played at Florida caddied for him last week. His youngest son, Case plays at Texas A&M.

“I think what’s a blessing in disguise is I’m so wimpy I don’t hit it hard enough to hurt it.” – Bart Bryant shares his thoughts while nursing an injured wrist during competition and practice.

TWEET OF THE WEEK
Rocco Mediate ‏@RoccoMediate Jamie from Minneapolis asks, “When will you be playing this year?” I plan to play a full schedule @ChampionsTour.

More stories to come!

Updates coming soon!

 

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