Categorized | Golf, Sports

PGA Champions Tour Round Two: Cochran leads Watson by two strokes


(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 W in the afternoon at 10-15 mph.

Russ Cochran backed up his 10-under 62 yesterday with a 7-under 65 on Saturday and leads defending champion Tom Watson by two strokes after 36 holes of the Champions Tour’s season-opening event. Cochran’s two-round total of 17-under 127 matches the tournament record set by Don Pooley (63-64) in 2006.

Round 2 Leaderboard: 1) Russ Cochran/127 (-17); 2) Tom Watson/129 (-15); 3) John Cook/130 (-14); 4) Jeff Sluman/131 (-13); T5) Tom Lehman/132 (-12), Mark McNulty/132 (-12)

  • Russ Cochran is shooting for his third career title on the Champions Tour tomorrow and if successful, it would be his third win in his last eight starts dating back to last year’s victory at the inaugural Posco E&C Songdo Championship in South Korea.
  • Russ Cochran has held sole possession of the lead each of the first two days and can become the event’s fifth wire-to-wire winner. Others who have led start to finish at this event are: Tom Watson (2010), Tom Kite (2002), John Jacobs (1999) and Peter Thomson (1985). Watson and Cochran (SAS Championship) were the only wire-to-wire winners on the 2010 Champions Tour.
  • Russ Cochran is also trying to become the eighth player in tournament history to win this championship in their first appearance. Loren Roberts was the last player to do so in 2006. Others to accomplish the feat are: John Jacobs (1999), John Bland (1996), George Archer (1990), Dave Hill (1988), Peter Thomson (1985) and Orville Moody (1984).

Russ Cochran’s best 36-hole scores in his Champions Tour career:

Event                           Score To Par Eventual Finish
2011 Mitsubishi Electric Champ. 127   (-17)  ----
2010 SAS Championship           131   (-13)  Win
2010 Montreal Championship      133   (-11)  T10th
  • In the previous 27 Mitsubishi Electric Championships, the Saturday leader/co-leader has gone on to win 17 times. However, in the last seven years at Hualalai, only Hale Irwin (2007) and Tom Watson (2010) managed to lead on Saturday and then go on to triumph a day later.
  • The winner of tomorrow’s Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai will receive 305 Charles Schwab Cup points in the season-long Schwab Cup race. Last year, Bernhard Langer became the first international winner of the Schwab Cup, defeating Fred Couples by 826 points. Langer finished T9 last year at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship and earned 59 points.
  • The field stroke average for Round 2 was 69.093 vs. 68.667 yesterday. Last year, the Saturday stroke average was 68.333 and 68.944 on Friday. The lowest second-round scoring average at Hualalai came in 2007 (68.390). Through the first two rounds last year, there were 47 rounds in the 60s. This year after two days of play, there are 50 total rounds in the 60s.
  • Through two rounds, the par-3 5th hole has again played as the most difficult, yielding just five birdies. The hole has a stroke average of 3.262. Over the first 36 holes, the par-5 4th hole has been the easiest (4.187), yielding nine eagles and 52 birdies. There have already been 18 eagles made through two rounds this year compared to last year when there were 18 eagles made over all three days.
  • Tom Watson’s 65 today gives him five straight rounds in the 60s at Hualalai. The 61-year-old Watson is now 37-under-par for his last five rounds at Hualalai and 28-under on the course’s second nine.Should Watson rally to win tomorrow, he would become the first player since Al Geiberger (1992, 1993) to successfully defend his title in the season opener. After six title defenses on the PGA TOUR, Watson has only defended one time on the Champions Tour, winning back-to-back Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in 2007-2008.
  • This And That: John Cook birdied half the holes today and his 8-under 64 was Saturday’s best round. Cook now has reeled off 11 consecutive scores in the 60s dating back to last year…Four players (Rod Spittle, Fred Couples, Bruce Vaughan, Mark O’Meara) made two eagles in their rounds today…Loren Roberts’ 2-under 70 today gives him 17 consecutive sub-par scores at Hualalai…After two rounds, Tom Watson has made the most birdies (16), Spittle the most eagles (3) and Russ Cochran, Corey Pavin and Bernhard Langer have not made a bogey yet…Nick Price leads the field in Driving Accuracy, hitting 27 of 28 fairways thus far…Both Russ Cochran and Tom Watson have missed just three greens through the first two rounds…Phil Blackmar, John Cook, Ben Crenshaw and Jeff Sluman have averaged just 26 putts per round…The tournament winners has come from the last grouping in each of the last five years after not coming from the last group from 2003-2005.

Quote of the Day: “Everyone is shooting the grass off the golf course out there, and that’s what’s fun. This is the Champions Tour. It’s not a bunch of schmos out here trying to play golf – everyone here is really, really good. ” — John Cook after posting 8-under 64 at Hualalai, the day’s best score

2011 Mitsubishi Electric at Hualalai Golf Course
Final Round Groupings and Starting Times for Sunday (Jan 23)

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