Categorized | Golf, Sports

PGA Champions Tour: Cochran leading after Day 1


(The first of 25 official events on the 2011 Champions Tour)
Kaupulehu — Jan. 21-23, 2011
Charles Schwab Cup points: 305
Purse: $1,800,000
Hualalai Golf Course Par/Yards: 36-36—72/7,107

Weather: Sunny with highs in the low-80s and winds from the SW in the afternoon at 5-10 mph.

Russ Cochran shot a TOUR career-best 10-under 62 in his first competitive round at Hualalai and leads World Golf Hall of Fame members Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson by two strokes after the first day of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Cochran’s score included a pair of eagles during a five-hole stretch early on the back nine and was his best since the 63 he posted in Round 4 of the 1991 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic on the PGA TOUR.

Prior to Friday, he had shot 64 five times in competition on the Champions Tour.

* Round 1 Leaderboard: 1) Russ Cochran/62 (-10); T2) Ben Crenshaw/64 (-8), Tom Watson/64 (-8); T4) Bernhard Langer/65 (-7), Mark McNulty/65 (-7), Jeff Sluman/65 (-7)

* Firsts of the year on the Champions Tour:

Eagle – Mark McNulty (par-5, 4th hole)
Birdie – Mark McNulty (par-4, 1st hole)
Bogey-Free Round, Sub-Par Round, Round In The 60s – Mark McNulty (65)
Two Eagles In A Round – Russ Cochran (Nos. 10, 14)

* Prior to Friday, Russ Cochran had been a first-round leader/co-leader five times in his Champions Tour career. Thus far, he’s only gone on to win once when leading/co-leading after Round 1 –2010 SAS Championship.

* Russ Cochran’s 62 on Friday matched Tom Purtzer’s 10-under-par score at Hualalai in 2008 as the best first-round in event history. Cochran’s round on Friday also means the leader after the opening day at this championship has not posted a score higher than 64 since 2003 when Hale Irwin, Dana Quigley and Steve Veriato all carded 6-under 66s in the first round.

* Since the tournament moved to Hualalai in 1997, seven first-round leaders/co-leaders have managed to go on to victory – Gil Morgan (1998), John Jacobs (1999), Tom Kite (2002), Dana Quigley (2003), Loren Roberts (2006), Bernhard Langer (2009) and Tom Watson (2010).

* Russ Cochran’s two-stroke advantage after Round 1 of the 2011 Mitsubishi Electric Championship marked the third time in the last five years that a player led by that margin after play ended on Friday. Last year, Tom Watson enjoyed a two-stroke margin after the opening round and Hale Irwin led by two shots after play on Friday in 2007. Both players went on to win this championship that year.

* Ben Crenshaw’s 8-under-par 64 matched his career-low round on the Champions Tour (Rd. 3, 2005 Blue Angels Classic) and was his best score in relation to par since turning 50. Crenshaw’s previous-best round at Hualalai was 65 twice (2006, 2007) with both scores coming in Round 1. Crenshaw is bidding to win his first official event on the Champions Tour in his 167thstart on the circuit. However, his last two unofficial victories have come in the Aloha State (2009 Wendy’s Champions Skins Game with Fuzzy Zoeller, 1995 PGA Grand Slam of Golf).

* Defending champion Tom Watson also posted a bogey-free, 8-under 64 today. The 61-year-old Watson is now 30-under-par for his last four rounds at Hualalai and 23-under on the course’s second nine.

* In his first competitive round on the Champions Tour in 10 months, Mark McNulty carded a bogey-free, 7-under 65 at Hualalai today, his best score on this course since a 65 in Round 1 of 2008. McNulty only played in four events on the Champions Tour last year and none after the Toshiba Classic in early March. He underwent right knee-replacement surgery in Chicago on May 11 which sidelined him for the remainder of the season.

* 26 of 42 players in this week’s field shot rounds in the 60s today compared to 22 of the 36 players in last year’s field after the opening round. In 2008, 31 of the 41 players in the field had opening rounds in the 60s, the most ever. The field average for today’s first round was 68.667 vs. 68.944 last year on Friday. In 2008, the first-round scoring average was 67.537, the lowest ever on a Friday at Hualalai.

* The par-5 10th hole was the easiest on the entire Champions Tour last year and it was also the easiest for the field in Round 1 this year. The 566-yard hole gave up two eagles and 27 birdies and played to a stroke average of 4.262. The par-3 5th hole yielded just three birdies in all of last year’s tournament but gave up three today (Russ Cochran, Mark McNulty, Tom Pernice, Jr.) and played to a stroke average of 3.167.

* Loren Roberts, a champion at Hualalai in 2006, kicked off his 2011 season with a 4-under-par 68, his 16th consecutive sub-par round at Hualalai and 15th overall score in the 60s at this course.

* John Cook got off to a good start in his bid to pick up right where he left off after the 2010 season. Cook won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at TPC Harding Park, the Champions Tour’s finale last year, and opened his 2011 campaign with a 6-under 66 today, his 10th consecutive score in the 60s dating back to last year.

* This And That: 65-year-old Hale Irwin made his 16th straight appearance in this championship today, the longest streak by a player in tournament history, and opened with a 3-under 69 at Hualalai. Today’s round was Irwin’s 32nd score in the 60s (46th overall round) at this event … Fred Couples’ bogey on the par-4 15th hole ended a run of bogey-free holes at Hualalai at 51 straight … Bernhard Langer reeled off five birdies in a row on the back nine (Nos. 10-14) en route to a 7-under-par 63, the best birdie streak early in the 2011 season. Last year, eight different players had five birdies in a row, the best birdie streak in 2010…Both Mark McNulty and Nick Price hit all 14 fairways … Russ Cochran, Corey Pavin and Tom Watson all missed only one green in regulation today … Ben Crenshaw’s 24 putts were the fewest by a player in the field today.

* Quote of the Day: “Well you know, the Four Seasons Hualalai experience starts after you win an event. The first thing they say is, ‘Congratulations on your win,’ and then the next thing out of their mouth is, ‘Wait until you get to Hawaii.’ The way you are treated, the overall attitudes of the players, etc. You get through with your round, and then you all kind of meet back to enjoy the rest of the day, and this brings that effect, and then some. You just can’t say enough about the activities. And I guess some of that carried over today.” –First-round leader Russ Cochran talking about being at Hualalai

2011 Mitsubishi Electric
Hualalai Golf Course
Second Round Groupings and Starting Times
Saturday, January 22, 2011

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