By Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Media Staff
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Despite carding a 1-over-par 72 in the final round, Roger Chapman claimed a two-stroke win over John Cook at the 73rd Senior PGA Championship. After Chapman made three birdies early on, he enjoyed a nine-stroke advantage at one point on the front side. Chapman’s lead was seven halfway through the round and never shrunk to less than four strokes until he made bogeys on the final two holes. Cook had an opportunity to get within three shots of Chapman with three holes to play, but he missed a five-foot birdie chance on the par-5 15th.
Chapman’s improbable victory was his first since claiming the 2000 Brazil Rio De Janeiro 500 Years Open on the European Tour. He dedicated the win to longtime swing coach and former European Ryder Cup player George Will, who had passed away recently.
--Chapman became the eighth player to make the Senior PGA Championship his first title on the Champions Tour. The others are: Arnold Palmer (1980), Tom Wargo (1993), Doug Tewell (2000), Fuzzy Zoeller (2002), Mike Reid (2005), Denis Watson (2007) and Michael Allen (2009).
--Chapman won his first Champions Tour event in his 16th start on the circuit and joins Corey Pavin (Allianz Championship) as the second first-time winner this year. Chapman’s previous-best career finish on the Champions Tour was a tie for 27th in the 2011 Senior PGA Championship.
--Chapman became the third Englishman to win a title in the history of the Champions Tour and the second from England to win a senior major championship. Ironically, both Tony Jacklin (1994 First of America Classic in Grand Rapids) and Mark James (2004 Ford Senior Players Championship in Dearborn) also claimed their initial Champions Tour wins in the state of Michigan. Before Sunday, James was also the last Englishman to win on the Champions Tour, claiming the 2007 Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.
--Chapman became the first European to win a major on the Champions Tour since Bernhard Langer claimed the U.S. Senior Open in 2010 at Sahalee near Seattle. He also became the first European to win the Senior PGA Championship since Jock Hutchison from Scotland won his second Senior PGA title in 1947, as well as the seventh different international winner of this prestigious championship (first since Zimbabwe’s Denis Watson in 2007).
--Chapman earned a spot in this year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C., and is exempt for life in future Senior PGA Championships. He also earned an exemption on the Champions Tour for one calendar year from Sunday as well as a spot in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai for the next five years.
--John Cook has now finished second in the last two major championships on the Champions Tour and finished second in four different majors. Cook lost in playoffs at the 2008 Senior British Open (to Bruce Vaughan), 2009 Regions Tradition (to Mike Reid) and the 2011 Constellation Senior Players Championship (to Fred Couples). He also became the first player in Senior PGA Championship history to shoot four rounds in the 60s and not win. The others: Herman Barron, 1963 (67-67-69-69—272); Sam Snead, 1973 (66-66-67-69—268); and Don January, 1979 (68-68-67-67—270).
--Kenny Perry’s 9-under-par 62 matched the lowest round ever shot in a senior major and is also a new 18-hole record for the Senior PGA Championship, surpassing the 63s shot by Buck White (Rd. 1, 1961) and Arnold Palmer (Rd. 2, 1984).
--If not for Perry’s 62, Peter Senior would have tied the 18-hole scoring record at the Senior PGA Championship. Nevertheless, Senior’s 8-under 63 Sunday established a career-best score on the Champions Tour. Senior’s previous-best was 64 at last year’s Songdo IBD Championship in South Korea. Sunday’s round moved Senior up 13 places into a tie for fourth, his sixth top-five in 11 career starts in senior majors.
--Hale Irwin, just seven days shy of his 67th birthday, played his last four holes in 4 under to move up into solo third place at the Senior PGA Championship, his best performance in a senior major since finishing second at the 2005 Ford Senior Players Championship. Overall, it was Irwin’s 207th top-10 finish of his Champions Tour career and 26th top-five performance in 66 career starts in senior majors.
--At 66 years, 11 months, 24 days, Irwin extended his record as the oldest player to record a top-five finish in a senior major. Last year at 66 years, 1 month, 28 days, Irwin tied for fourth at the U.S. Senior Open at Inverness.
--Irwin’s last three rounds this week were in the 60s and pushed his leading all-time total for most sub-70 scores at the Senior PGA Championship to 24, seven more than Sam Snead. Irwin also tied Snead’s record for most rounds under par at this championship with 33.
--Two players had their best career performances in stroke-play events on the Champions Tour. Joe Daley and Sandy Lyle both closed with rounds of 66-64 to tie for fourth at the Senior PGA Championship. Daley’s previous-best in a Champions Tour event was a tie for 12th at this year’s ACE Group Classic. Lyle tied for third at the 2008 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, a better-ball team event. His previous best at stroke play was tie for 10th at the 2010 Posco E&C Songdo Championship in South Korea.