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.


News & Notes for Thursday

May 21, 2009

CANTERBURY GOLF CLUB’S COURSE RECORD
IS A LONG STORY WHICH INVOLVES A PROUD AMATEUR

Canterbury Golf Club’s competitive course record is owned by a former amateur turned Tour professional and broadcaster – Bobby Clampett. He posted a 5-under-par 66 (played at par-71) in the 1979 U.S. Amateur.

The lowest score in relation to par by a professional is 5-under, and shared by eight individuals:

  • Sam Snead in the 1940 U.S. Open (par-72)
  • Five players in the 1973 PGA Championship (par-71) – Al Geiberger, Don Iverson, Denny Lyons, Buddy Allin, Lee Trevino
  • Chick Harbert and Chandler Harper in the 1946 U.S. Open (par-72)

However, the lowest score ever posted at Canterbury is owned by a lifetime amateur and club member, Brian Sparrow (age 54).

While playing in his regular Sunday foursome in 2002 from the back tees with par set at 72, Sparrow finished with a 8-under-par 64.

“It does feel pretty good to know I have the lowest score ever shot at Canterbury,” said Sparrow, a native of Providence, R.I., and winner of the 2007 Northeastern Ohio Amateur and the 1990 Michigan Medal Play Championship. “It was the lowest round I’ve ever had. I can tell you that my partners weren’t talking to me much that day. We have our own very competitive group, and it wasn’t what I would call a casual round.”

Three for the Ages:

When the threesome of Dave Stockton, Bob Charles and John Jacobs teed off on the first hole today at 7:50 a.m., they brought with them:

  • 204 combined years of age (Charles, 73 years; Stockton, 67; Jacobs, 64)
  • 136 years of combined professional experience (Charles, 49 years; Stockton, 45; Jacobs, 42)
  • Three major championships during their PGA Tour days (Stockton, 1970 and 1976 PGA Championship; Charles, 1963 British Open)
  • One Senior PGA Championship (Jacobs, 2003)

Together Again

Charles and Stockton are very familiar with one another while competing for senior major championships at Canterbury. In 1996, they played all four rounds together, with Stockton ultimately winning the U.S. Senior Open. They are playing the first two rounds together here this week.

In addition to Charles and Stockton, the last time O’Meara and Cook played Canterbury, they were paired together in the final match of the 1979 U.S. Amateur, with O’Meara eventually getting the better of Cook. Thirty years later, they too are paired together for the first two rounds.