Final Round News & Notes

May 24, 2009
Senior PGA Champion Michael Allen (photo: PGA of America)

Senior PGA Champion Michael Allen (photo: PGA of America)

For pictures from the Final Round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

Another First-Time Champion

Michael Allen is the 23rd player to win the Senior PGA Championship in his first try. Denis Watson (2007) was the most recent to capture the Senior PGA Championship in his debut. This list also includes Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.

Hanging with Arnie

Allen and Arnold Palmer are the only two players to win the Senior PGA Championship in their Champions Tour debut.

A One-Two First

Since the beginning of the Champions Tour in 1980, this marks the first time that the top two finishers were making their first appearances in the Senior PGA Championship.

Tom Terrific

With his final-round 66 today, Tom Watson tied the low 18-hole score of the 70th Senior PGA Championship. Watson and Mize also shot 30 (4-under par) on the front nine today to match Fred Funk for the low score over either nine this week.

Fourth-Youngest in the Field

2009 Senior PGA Champion Michael Allen (born Jan. 31, 1959) is the fourth-youngest player in the field this week. Bob Tway, the 1986 PGA Champion, is the youngest. He was born May 4, 1959.

Lovin’ That Back Nine

Michael Allen shined on the back nine this week as he captured the 70th Senior PGA Championship. He played the back nine in 7-under par.

Back-Nine Bests

Ross Drummond and Lonnie Nielsen (second round) and Tim Simpson (third round) all fired 4-under-par 32s, the best scores on the back nine this week.

Masterful Mize

Earlier this spring, Larry Mize made the most of his only appearance outside the Champions Tour this year. The 1987 Masters Champion, Mize opened with 67 at The Masters and finished in a tie for 30th place.

Seven Swinging Senior PGA Champions

Tom Watson led the seven former Senior PGA Champions who played all four rounds this week at Canterbury Golf Club. Their 72-hole scores and finishing places:

  • Tom Watson:  280 (E)  4th
  • Jay Haas:  282 (+2)  T9
  • Mike Reid:  289 (+9)  T44
  • Allen Doyle:  292 (+12)  T57
  • Hale Irwin:  293 (+13)  T59
  • Tom Wargo:  294 (+14)  T68
  • John Jacobs:  296 (+16)  T70

Strong Finish for O’Meara

Mark O’Meara’s return to the site of his 1979 U.S. Amateur triumph, which served as a springboard to his outstanding professional career, turned out to be a memorable one.  After opening with 76, O’Meara improved every round, shooting 70-69-68. He closed out his 2-under par round today with a birdie on No. 18.

“I got off to a rough start on the back side the first day and I could have packed it in but I didn’t,” said O’Meara. “I kept hanging in there and fighting and to shoot what I did over the last three days was a good accomplishment.  So I won a little bit of the battle. I didn’t certainly win tournament, but at least I fought back.

“And now here I am 30 years later, having won 30 tournaments around the world and 16 in the United States … I propel it all back to the Canterbury win here in ’79. So I feel very fortunate to have played this great game for a long time.”

Frightening Fourth

The 470-yard, par-4 fourth hole was the hardest this week in terms of stroke average, at 4.412. The par-3 17th hole yielded the fewest birdies for the week (22).

Tough Finish for Stockton

Thirteen years after winning the U.S. Senior Open at Canterbury Golf Club, Dave Stockton started strong this week but was unable to finish in the same manner. The 67-year-old Stockton, who opened with 70, closed today with 78 for a four-day total of 13-over-par 293. He tied for 59th place.

Drummond’s Long Walk

The midway leader here at Canterbury Golf Club, Scotland’s Ross Drummond struggled over the weekend. He shot 76-76 and finished tied for 37th place.

Deja Vu for Haas

Defending Champion Jay Haas closed with 69 today and finished in a tie for ninth at 2-over-par 282. Interestingly, Haas tied for ninth the first time he defended his Senior PGA Championship title, in 2007 at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort.

A Very Normal Norman

Set back by a triple bogey on the 16th hole in the second round, Greg Norman played two ordinary rounds over the weekend. For the Championship, he shot 73-72-73-72. Last year, in his Senior PGA Championship debut, Norman shot 72-73-72-73.


News & Notes from Round 3

May 24, 2009

For the full leaderboard and to view pictures from yesterday’s Round 3, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

Even the PGA is a fan of Lebron (photo: PGA of America)

Even the PGA is a fan of Lebron (photo: PGA of America)

Sunday TV Times

NBC Sports will televise the final round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship, from Noon to 3 p.m. eastern.

Aced It

Englishman Roger Chapman hit a hole-in-one on the par-3, 206-yard 17th hole yesterday, which is the first and only one of the tournament so far. Using a 4-iron, he knocked it to the front of the green where it took one bounce and rolled 8 feet into the cup. The roar of the crowd could be clearly heard several holes away.

Dream Pairing

So you’re PGA Club Professional Robert Gibbons, you’re competing in your first Senior PGA Championship, and you make the 36-hole cut at Canterbury Golf Club.

So, with whom do you get paired for the third round? Only World Golf Hall of Famers Hale Irwin and Greg Norman. How’s that for a story to tell the folks back at Arrowhead Golf Club in Molalla, Ore., where Gibbons is the PGA head professional!

Walking stride by stride with his legendary playing partners, Gibbons fared well, shooting 75. Irwin and Norman both shot 73.

“You can’t dream up playing with Norman and Irwin in a Saturday game,” said Gibbons, who played and missed the cut in the 1989 PGA Championship. “The situation was a little different than I’m used to. The first tee was really kind of tough.  But after that I tried to stay calm, just go through my routine and tried to hit it in the fairway, tried to hit it on the green.”

Ready to Win?

Michael Allen, who leads heading today’s final round, has never won in nearly 20 years on the PGA Tour. Ross Drummond, the leader after the second round, has yet to win on either the European PGA Tour and European Seniors Tour over more than 30 years.

Thanks, Mike Mitchell

Allen credits PGA Professional Mike Mitchell of Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., with helping him refine his swing and attitude.

“He’s just helped change my game,” Allen said. “He is more driven than any man I have ever met. He’s got such passion and it’s just carried over. I am not fighting to find my swing every single day and that has made the game more fun.”

Dave’s Stock is Holding

Dave Stockton, 67, winner of the 1996 U.S. Senior Open at Canterbury, kept up his consistent play today, posting a 72 and tying for 30th overall at 5-over-par 215.

Three Major Amigos

Three major champions – Larry Mize (1987 Masters), Jeff Sluman (1988 PGA Championship) and Tom Kite (1992 U.S. Open) – will be in the final two threesomes Sunday. Mize will be in the next-to-last group at 9:55 a.m., while Kite and Sluman will be paired together with third-round leader Michael Allen at 10:05 a.m.

Where’s Jay?

Defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas is six strokes out of the lead at 3-over-par 213 after turning in his best round of the week, a 2-under-par 68 yesterday.

Pace Setters

Hal Sutton, the 1983 PGA Champion and 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, and 1993 Senior PGA Champion Tom Wargo, were the first group out yesterday. The only twosome in the third round, they played their round in a brisk 3 hours and 37 minutes.

Sutton shot 70 — 217 while Wargo had 72 — 219.

Final Pairing, Part Two

This is the second consecutive year that Jeff Sluman has appeared in the final pairing in the final round of the Senior PGA Championship. Last year, in his Senior PGA Championship debut in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., Sluman came up short against eventual Champion Jay Haas and runner-up Bernhard Langer, finishing in a tie for ninth place.

“It would be great to have my name on that fantastic trophy,” Sluman said of the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy that goes to the Senior PGA Champion. Sluman already has his name inscribed on the Wanamaker Trophy for winning the 1988 PGA Championship.

Fast Start, Shaky From There

PGA Club Professional James Mason birdied the first three holes today to get to even par. But he stumbled with four bogeys the rest of the way and finished with 71 — 214. He is tied for 22nd place.

Better Each Day

Mark O’Meara, who won the 1979 U.S. Amateur Championship at Canterbury Golf Club, continued to make progress today. He shot 69, and at 5-over par for the Championship, is tied for 30th place heading to the final round.

Two More Eagles at 15

In addition to the hole-in-one by Roger Chapman at the par-3 17th hole, Larry Mize and Mike Goodes each made eagle-3 at No. 15. All five of the eagle-3s in the Championship have come at the 549-yard par-5 hole.

Tough Day for Drummond

Second-round leader Ross Drummond of Scotland bogeyed five holes on the back nine and shot 76. He is still only five shots out of the lead.

“I really just lost it on the greens and that just kind of spilled over into my game,” said Drummond, who had 37 putts today. “It was just some poor putting and then just a lack of confidence. Hopefully I can come out tomorrow in a better frame of mind.”


The Cut and more News & Notes from Friday

May 23, 2009

Weekend TV Times

NBC Sports will televise the final two rounds of the 70th Senior PGA Championship. The dates and TV times (Eastern Time):

Saturday, May 23 — 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 24 — Noon to 3 p.m.

The Cut is 7-over (photo: PGA of America)

The Cut is 7-over (photo: PGA of America)

Cut Falls at 7-Over Par

A total of 77 players will compete over the weekend, with the 36-hole cut falling at 7-over-par 147.

Among those who failed to qualify for weekend play are nine major champions (listed based in order of finish) — Craig Stadler, Fuzzy Zoeller, Jerry Pate, Nick Price, Ben Crenshaw, Sandy Lyle, Lanny Wadkins, Bob Charles and Charles Coody.

66 is The Magic Number

With both Michael Allen and Ross Drummond shooting 66 today, four players over the first two rounds have now tied the Canterbury Golf Club competitive course record for low score. Scott Hoch and Tom Purtzer also shot 66, in the first round.

Drummond Goes Low

Ross Drummond made four birdies on the back nine today and posted a 4-under-par 32. Drummond and Lonnie Nielsen are tied for lowest score on the inward nine over the first two rounds.

James Blair, Scott Hoch and Tom McKnight each shot 3-under-par 31 in the opening round, and those remained the best front-nine scores after 36 holes.

Putting Machine

Drummond’s 24 putts today are the fewest in a round by any player over the first two days.

Tough Defense

The good news for Defending Champion Jay Haas is that he made the 36-hole cut. The bad news is that he struggled throughout the second round and finds himself nine strokes back at the midpoint. Haas had five bogeys for the round and shot 74 for a two-day total of 145 (5-over par).

Seven Senior PGA Champions Make Cut

Haas and six other Senior PGA Champions made the 36-hole cut — John Jacobs (3-over par); Tom Watson and Hale Irwin (4-over par); Mike Reid and Haas (5-over par); Allen Doyle (6-over par); and Tom Wargo (7-over par).

Fuzzy Zoeller (8-over par) and Denis Watson (11-over par) missed the cut.

Langer’s Eagle Makes Three

With his eagle-3 at the 15th hole this afternoon, Bernhard Langer joined Kiyoski Murota and PGA Club Professional Jim Woodward as the three players to record eagles over the first two rounds. All eagles have come on No. 15, a 549-yard, par-5.

Major “Rookies” Make the Cut

Larry Mize (1987 Masters), Tom Lehman (1996 British Open) and Bob Tway (1986 PGA Championship) all made the 36-hole cut in their Senior PGA Championship debut.

Mize carded his second straight 69 and is tied for second at 2-under-par 138.

Lehman bounced back from an opening-round 75 to shoot 2-under-par 68 today. He is 3-over par midway through the Championship.

Tway just survived for weekend play after rounds of 75-72 — 147.

Jacobs’ Streak Ends at 20

John Jacobs, who made 18 consecutive pars in his opening round, parred his first two holes today before making a bogey. He had two more bogeys for 73 — 143.

Stockton Matches Jacobs

Dave Stockton and Jacobs, playing partners over the first two rounds, each shot 70-73 — 143.

The Funk Man Plays On

Fred Funk, one of the most popular players in the game, posted back-to-back 71s and is 2-over par, only six strokes out of the lead.

12th is Toughest, 15th Easiest

Through 36 holes, the 461-yard, par-4 12th hole ranks as the toughest on the course. Interestingly, only 23 birdies combined have been made on Nos. 17 and 18 — that’s seven less birdies than on the 12th hole alone.

The easiest hole by far is the par-5 15th, where the field made 85 birdies over the first two days. That’s 23 more birdies than the next-closest hole (No. 16).

Sub-Par Rounds Up by Seven

There were 17 rounds under par yesterday, compared to 10 in the opening round.

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News & Notes from Friday

May 22, 2009

The Cut List – To see who was cut from the field, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

Round 2 Photos – Visit www.pga.com/seniorpga/2009/multimedia/photo/ for photos of the 2nd Round.

Michael Allen (Photo: PGA of America)

Michael Allen (Photo: PGA of America)

Some Potential “Firsts” for Allen

With a second-round 66 today, Michael Allen has put himself into position to be the 23rd player to win the Senior PGA Championship in his debut. Denis Watson, in 2007, was the most recent player to do so.

Allen is also shooting to become just the 14th player to capture his first event on the Champions Tour. Furthermore, Arnold Palmer won the 1980 Senior PGA Championship, and remains the only player to capture the Senior PGA Championship in his debut on the Champions Tour.

Eagles Are Soaring

Kiyoshi Murato of Japan and PGA Club Professional Jim Woodward recorded the first eagles of the 70th Senior PGA Championship in the morning round. Both eagles came at the par-5 15th hole. Bernhard Langer also eagled this hole in the afternoon round.

O’Meara and Cook, Day Two

After playing poorly in the opening round while paired together, 1979 U.S. Amateur finalists Mark O’Meara and John Cook improved in the second round. O’Meara, the U.S. Amateur Champion at Canterbury 30 years ago, shot even-par 70 today and is at 6-over-par 146. Cook finished the day one stroke better with a 69 for a 4-stroke lead over his playing partner for the Championship.

Ruining His Round

Greg Norman was coasting along today, 2-under par for the round until his game unraveled at the par-5 16th hole. From the rough, Norman pitched his third shot over the green, into a wooded area and out of bounds. Norman then dropped from the same spot where he had previously hit, pitched the ball on the green and three-putted for triple-bogey 8.

Norman then bogeyed the 17th hole and finished with 72 for the round and a 5-over par total. He will make the 36-hole cut.

Another View of Jacobs’ 70

Since 1992, when such statistics began to be kept, no player in the Senior PGA Championship had parred all 18 holes in a round until John Jacobs did so in the first round yesterday at Canterbury.

Roller-Coaster Back Nine

Keith Fergus parred Nos. 10 and 18, but in between Fergus had four birdies and three bogeys on his closing nine today. Fergus shot 69 and is 2-over par after 36 holes. Chris Starkjohann also rode the roller coaster but without so many hills. Chris parred 10 and 18, and inbetween recorded 5 birdies and 2 bogies.


My 10-Minute Free Lesson

May 22, 2009
Play Golf America

Play Golf America

The greatest downfall of my golf game has always been the part where I swing the club. Sure I could narrow it down to my grip, back swing speed or stance, but what’s the point? From my perspective, they are all wrong. How do I know that? Because nothing can be right if I start jumping up and down celebrating when I break 100.

Fortunately for me, on the grounds at the 70th Senior PGA Championship, Play Golf America has set up two practice nets, and with the help of the Northern Ohio PGA Section, is giving free 10 minutes lessons.

I signed up and minutes later met with the unfortunate PGA professional who was going to have his hands full. He asked what was the biggest issue with my golf game. I sorted through the virtuously endless list of deficiencies, choosing to focus on consistency.

He was ready; obviously I was not the first to come to him with this problem.  The first thing he did was walk me through the five things I need to keep in mind every time I address the ball.

Grip – First, he demonstrated how I should overlap my hands, and use my right thumb to pinch the forefinger against the middle finger.

Stance – Next, he explained why it is important to put the ball at the absolute bottom of my swing, which if my weight is centered is usually is in the middle of your stance. Setting the ball in the center of your stance makes sure the club face hits the ball in the center, instead of with the bottom edge of the club.

Line – His next tip was to place my feet parallel to the line I want the ball to travel. That’s an obvious one … now.

Posture – After that, he told me to get in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart with my weight on the balls of my feet to ensure I was well balanced.

The First 12 Inches – Finally, he showed me why it is important to keep my wrists stiff as I begin to bring the club back. It’s that first 12 inches that dictates the path of your back swing, which if not done correctly will result in the club face not striking the ball square to the target.

Using their special foam golf balls that over exaggerates a regular ball’s spin, I began to put this new found wisdom to use. After one more final tweak, something about actually watching the ball when I swing, I was hitting them right into the middle of the net, consistently.

Now I need to go put this lesson to the test on the course. Unfortunately, it is currently reserved for those over 50.


More News & Notes from Thursday

May 22, 2009

Scott Hoch (Photo: PGA of America)

Scott Hoch (Photo: PGA of America)

Live Scoring available at www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

Steady as He Goes

John Jacobs, the 2003 Senior PGA Champion, was the model of consistency in the opening round of the 70th Senior PGA Championship. Jacobs parred every hole for a round of 70, hit 12 of 14 fairways, and 16 of 18 greens in regulation. And he was 1-for-1 in sand saves.

Tracking the Senior PGA Champions

Jacobs and three other past Senior PGA Champions — Hale Irwin, Dave Stockton and Denis Watson — shot 70 in the first round. Two-time and Defending Champion Jay Haas had 71, while Tom Watson, Allen Doyle and Fuzzy Zoeller each shot 72. Tom Wargo and Mike Reid carded 74s.

Norman’s Driving Woes

Greg Norman struggled off the tee in the opening round, hitting just five of 14 fairways. He finished with 73.

The Boys from the ’79 Amateur Final

Mark O’Meara, the winner of the 1979 U.S. Amateur at Canterbury, and John Cook, who lost to O’Meara in that final match, never got much going in the first round today. O’Meara, starting his round on No. 10, made double-bogey on 15 and triple-bogey on 16. He shot 76 for the round.

Meanwhile, Cook bogeyed three straight holes (4, 5 and 6) and shot 73.

How the Course Played

Statistically, the back nine played considerably harder than the front nine in the opening round. With par being 36 on the back, the field averaged 38.432 strokes on that side.

On the par-34 front nine, the field played to a stroke average of 35.781.

Stockton at “Home” in Cleveland

It should have come as little surprise that Dave Stockton opened with a 70 — his best score in the Senior PGA Championship since 2003 — considering his fondess for the Cleveland area.

Stockton, now 67, won the 1996 U.S. Senior Open at Canterbury, captured the 1968 Cleveland Open and even called suburban Cleveland his “summer home” in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Back then, before Stockton had enough money to fly back to his native California during a break from the PGA Tour, he and his wife, Cathy, would often stay with a local friend and play Chagrin Valley Country Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Not Much Red

There were only 10 players under par in the first round and 22 players at par or better.

Tough 12th, Easy 15th

The par-4 12th, measuring 461 yards, played as the toughest hole in the opening round, with a stroke average of 4.626. Only eight birdies were made on 12, while there were 48 bogeys, 24 double bogeys and three “others” (triple bogey or worse).

The 18th and 17th holes ranked second and third, respectively, in difficulty. There were only five birdies on each hole among the 156-player field.

Conversely, the 549-yard, par-5 15th hole yielded 39 birdies and just 27 bogeys and three double bogeys. It ranked as the easiest hole on the course, with a scoring average of 4.961.

Flying Under the Radar

There were no eagles or holes-in-one recorded in the opening round today.


Live Scoring Updates

May 22, 2009

For live scoring updates of the 70th Senior PGA Championship, visit www.SeniorPGA2009.com.

For photos of the Pro-Am, Practice Rounds and the Championship, visit www.pga.com/seniorpga/2009/multimedia/photo/

For video highlights from the Championship, visit www.pga.com/seniorpga/2009/multimedia/video/


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