Notebook: PGA Professional Stelten aces 14th
Of all the memories PGA Professional Ron Stelten, of Palm Desert, Calif., will take home from the 68th Senior PGA Championship, his hole-in-one Sunday on No. 14 at the Ocean Course tops the list.
From Staff Reports
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Ron Stelten finished in a tie for 33rd at the 68th Senior PGA Championship, but the PGA Professional from Palm Desert, Calif., will take home one very special memory.
During the final round Sunday at the Ocean Course, Stelten aced the 196-yard 14th hole using a 2-iron.
"I just played it for the middle of the green, knowing it would drift right, and it did," Stelten explained with a wide smile after his round, a 1-over 73.
The layout of the hole made it impossible for Stelten to actually see his ball drop into the hole, but he wasn't even aware of how good a shot it was for quite some time.
"It took a long time before anyone started clapping," Stelten noted. "The group in front of us had some kind of problem so the group behind us had caught up and was waiting on the tee with us. After I hit, all the 'good shots' were done by everyone. You know, when everyone says, 'good shot, good shot.' So we had already started walking up when the roar came. Getting all the congratulations while walking up the fairway was really cool."
Stelten, who works for GolfQuest organizing corporate golf retreats, is no stranger to such magic on large stages.
"I made a hole-in-one while on the European Tour in front of 25,000," he said. "So that was really cool. That was number one, so this is number two."
Then he reconsidered the thought.
"Actually, this might mean a little more."
ALL ABOUT WATSON: Zimbabwe's Denis Watson's initial victory on the Champions Tour came in his 12th career start and made him the 11th different winner in the 12 official events played thus far in 2007. Watson's first win on the PGA TOUR came at the 1984 Buick Open in his 74th appearance.
Watson became the first international to win the Senior PGA Championship since South Africa's Gary Player claimed the 1990 Senior PGA Championship at PGA National. Player also won this event in 1986 and '88. Other international champions include Jock Hutchinson of Scotland (1937, 1947), Freddie McLeod of Scotland (1938), Roberto De Vicenzo of Argentina (1974) and Peter Thomson of Australia (1984).
With his victory, Watson earned 720 Charles Schwab Cup points and vaulted him into second place in the season-long competition after 12 official events with 1,062 total points. Points in the season-long Schwab Cup race are awarded based on top-10 finishes and dollar amounts won in events on a per-thousand basis (i.e. $80,000 equals 80 Charles Schwab Cup points). Points are doubled in the remaining four major championships on the Champions Tour and also at the season ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Jay Haas picked up 104 Schwab Cup points this week as a result of a T9 and now has 1,140 total points. Brad Bryant remained in third place after placing sixth today and now has 819 total points. Tom Kite earned 120 points for a T7 and now stands in fourth position with 792 points, one point more than Hale Irwin. At the end of the official season, the player earning the most points will receive a $1 million annuity from Charles Schwab.
INTERNATIONAL DOMINATION: International players held down the top-four spots in this year's Senior PGA Championship. In the previous 67 years of this event, there had never been as much as a one-two finish by international players.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Starting with Mark James' victory at the 2004 Ford Senior Players Championship, seven of the 15 senior majors played have been claimed by first-time winners. In addition to James, here are the other six -- Pete Oakley (2004 Senior British Open), Peter Jacobsen (2004 U.S. Senior Open), Mike Reid (2005 Senior PGA Championship), Loren Roberts (2005 JELD-WEN Tradition), Eduardo Romero (2006 JELD-WEN Tradition), Denis Watson (2007 Senior PGA Championship). The closest Watson came to winning a major on the PGA TOUR was at the 1985 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills when he finished T2, two strokes back of Andy North.
ROMERO ON A MAJOR ROLL: With his runner-up performance today, Eduardo Romero has now finished either first or second in the last three senior majors. Romero lost in a playoff to Loren Roberts at last year's Senior British Open at Turnberry and then won the 2006 JELD-WEN Tradition in the fall.
ACE IN THE HOLE: Ron Stelten of Palm Desert, Calif., recorded a hole-in-one on the 196-yard, No. 14, using a 2-iron. Stelten was one of nine club professionals to make the cut and made his first appearance in the Senior PGA Championship. Before Stelten, the last club professional to make a hole-in-one on the Champions Tour was John Aubrey in Round 1 of the 2004 U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive. Stelten's ace was the first in the Senior PGA Championship since Terry Dill's hole-in-one in the first round of the 2004 event at Valhalla. It was the fourth ace on the Champions Tour this year and marked the third consecutive event that an ace has been made.
RANDOM STATS: The stroke average of the field was higher Sunday than Saturday but lower than the first two rounds. On Sunday, the field averaged 73.912 compared to 73.369 on Saturday. Friday's stroke average was 75.494 and 77.278 on Thursday. There were 19 sub-par rounds on both Saturday and Sunday. Just seven players broke par in Round 1 and there were 21 sub-par rounds on Friday. Overall, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island played to a stroke average of 75.512 (+3.512), almost half a stroke easier than par-71, Oak Tree Golf Club last year (74.968, +3.968).
The Ocean Course's par-3, 17th hole played as the most difficult for the week at 3.601 (+.601). The hole yielded just 27 birdies over four rounds. It currently ranks as the hardest hole on the Champions Tour since 2005 when three holes from Royal Aberdeen at the Senior British Open topped the list of most difficult that year (No. 4, par-4, 4.757, No. 9, par-4, 4.723, No. 7, par-4, 4.696).
Tom Purtzer led the field in Driving Distance (293.6)... Katsuyoshi Tomori has hit 45 of 56 (80 percent) fairways off the tee... Tom Kite led the field in Greens In Regulation, hitting 56 of 72 (78 percent)... Massy Kuramoto averaged 26.50 putts per round (1.47).