Pate Leaps atop Leaderboard as Others Stumble at Senior PGA Championships

Jerry Pate moved up the leaderboard as others, such as Hale Irwin and Graham Marsh, moved down at the second round of the Senior PGA Championships.

Jerry Pate in the second round of the Senior PGA ChampionshipThe second round of the Senior PGA Championship on Friday was moving day for many players in the field. Most notably Jerry Pate whom was four under for the day leaving him with a one stroke lead. First round leader Graham Marsh had a somewhat disappointing day finishing at two-under par for the day, a score that could have easily been worse. Hale Irwin was also left in Pate’s dust after finishing three-over on the day, six shots behind for the tournament.

As Josh Permuda mentioned yesterday in the first round recap of the Senior PGA Championships, Irwin trails only Sam Snead for most Senior PGA Championship victories. A victory at the 66th Championship would mean he only trails Snead by one. His chance of victory may have diminished after today’s second round of play.

Bogey-Free Leonard Leads, Triplett and Love III Lurk

Justin Leonard makes a strong charge in the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

One of Justin Leonard's numerous sand savesThe revamped TPC at Southwind is normally one of the tougher courses on tour but that did not seem to be the case for the morning tee times of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. With unusually clear skies and extremely calm winds, Justin Leonard entered the clubhouse early with a five-stroke lead. As the weather conditions changed in the afternoon, so did the scores. The wind started to pick up, averaging around 12 miles per hour, but that wasn’t enough to stop Kirk Triplett (64) and Davis Love III (65).

TPC at Southwind has received a facelift since last year’s St. Jude Classic. The course was lengthened 141 yards, a total of 7,244 yards. The par-4 5th hole now plays as a 485-yard par 5 and every green has successfully made the transition from bentgrass to Bermuda grass.

Graham Marsh Takes First Round Lead at Senior PGA Championships

Graham Marsh leads the first round of the Senior PGA Championship as Hale Irwin sits one stroke back and looks to defend his title and claim his fifth Championship victory.

Hale Irwin, Senior PGAGraham Marsh looked impressive in his first round at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania as he shot a 4-under 68. Marsh was able to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and clear skies on Thursday to take the first round lead at the Senior PGA Champioships.

The real story of the first round could be Hale Irwin’s quest for a fifth Senior PGA Championship. Irwin was able to birdie three of his last four holes to finish at 3-under par, one back of Marsh. Irwin trails only Sam Snead for most Senior PGA Championship victories. A victory at the 66th Championship would mean he only trails Snead by one.

Marsh sits one stroke in front of Irwin, Canadian Tour Player Dave Barr, Tom McKnight and R.W. Eaks.

Gustafson, Turner Lead; Amiee Withdraws in First Round at Corning

Sherri Turner and Sophie Gustafson share the lead while Danielle Amiee withdraws after round one action at the Corning Classic.

corning_classic_logo.jpgThe winds didn’t seem to have much of an effect on 32-year old swede Sophie Gustafson. Sophie turned in a 66 today with a spectacular round of eight birdies and only two bogeys on 9 and 11. She made back-to-back birdies on the 5th and 6th holes, again at the 12th and 13th holes and a triple threat with birdies on 15, 16 and 17. Gustafson putted only 24 times today and drove the ball over 300 yards. She is third in driving average on the LPGA tour this season. “You’ve got to be aggressive here,” said Gustafson.

Corning Classic champion (1988) Sherri Turner played golf in the latter part of the day escaping the morning winds. She matched Gustafson with an equally thrilling round carding an eagle at the second hole then adding five birdies as the day progressed. The 49-year old Turner only posted one bogey today to finish with her first round in the 60’s for the season.

Senior PGA Championship Preview

Hale Irwin looks to defend his title at the Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Golf Club, but Arnold Palmer is the sentimental favorite has he plays his 24th Championship at his home course in Pennsylvania.

champ_tour_logo.gifAs we all know, Erik is on-site at the Senior PGA Championship, which is set to begin on Thursday in Ligonier, Pennsylvania at the Laurel Valley Golf Club. This is the oldest championship in senior golf, started by Bobby Jones in 1937, and boasts a list of past winners that includes Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus.

Assuming the weather holds up in the Pennsylvania region (it looks like rain is in the forecast), the players will be competing for over $2 million with $360,000 going to the winner. Last year, Hale Irwin won his fourth Senior PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Lousiville, Kentucky and looks to add a fifth title to trail only Sam Snead in holding the most Senior PGA Championship victories (Slammin Sammy owns six titles).

Corning Classic Preview

Annika Sorenstam defends her title at the LPGA Corning Classic.

corning_classic_logo.jpgAnnika Sorenstam charges into action after taking a break from the Sybase Classic last week. The 34-year old Swede has already claimed victory in four of five tournaments this year and will be defending her Corning title this week. Sorenstam had fifty wins on tour at the same time last year and has added ten trophies to her display case placing her third on the all-time win list.

Corning Country Club in upstate New York has been the host of this tournament since 1979. At the first tournament the winner received a mere $15,000 with a total purse of $100,000 compared with this weekend’s first prize check of $165,000 and a total purse of $1.1 million.

FedEx St. Jude Classic Preview

David Toms will be looking for his third straight win in this tournament.

fedex_stjude_logo.gifDavid Toms finished in a tie for third last week at Colonial. That was his best finish since winning the Match Play Championship in February. This week, Toms will be playing a tournament that he has owned the last couple years. He will tee it up at the FedEx St. Jude Classic as the two-time defending champion and will look to be the first guy to win the tournament three straight years. He didn’t just win it last year, he dominated it! He finished up at -16 and six shots ahead of the next guy in line. There is no doubt Toms will be the favorite once again in Memphis, but there are a few other guys who will have their sights on the victory as well.

On Location at the Senior PGA – Tuesday

Today was autograph day for me at the Senior PGA Championship while the wet weather continued.

While yesterday was a day of getting acquainted with the course and the wet, wet weather, today was more getting acquainted with the players and, again, the wet, wet weather. Rains continued to trickle from the skies at varying intervals throughout the day. On the up side, fans were not out in droves, and autograph getting was pretty easy. I nabbed autographs on an embroidered flag from about 20 of my favorite Champions Tour players and at least one autograph from someone I can’t identify.

Most Remarkable PGA Tour Records

In this week’s installment of “Trap Five”, we take a look at some of the best PGA Tour records of all time.

Trap Five LogoWhen Tiger Woods missed the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, I started thinking of his incredible consecutive cut streak. After realizing how great it was, I also started thinking of some other great PGA Tour records. So the following is a list of PGA Tour records that are the most incredible in my opinion. You won’t find the record for most money won on the PGA Tour because the legends of golf didn’t have a fair shot at that one. And Tiger’s four major championships in a row didn’t make the cut either.