Senior PGA Championship: Friday notebook
By The PGA of America
ST. LOUIS – Just three players who held or shared the 36-hole lead have gone on to win the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid since 2000. Doug Tewell (2000) and Hale Irwin (2004) held outright leads after 36 holes and ultimately raised the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy. Roger Chapman of England shared the lead after 36 holes last year and went on to claim his first Senior PGA Championship title.
THEIR JOURNEY CONTINUES: Three PGA Club Professionals – Jeff Coston, Mark Mielke and Sonny Skinner – are tied at 2-under-par 140 and are five strokes out of the lead after the second round. They will be joined by two other PGA Club Professionals over the final 36 holes – Don Berry (1 under par), and St. Louis native Bob Gaus (3 over par).
Coston, of Blaine, Wash., made five birdies today and shot 69. Coston has now made three cuts in six Senior PGA Championship appearances.
Mielke, of East Norwich, N.Y., is playing in his first Senior PGA Championship. Like Coston, he had five birdies today but also added five bogeys for his second consecutive, even-par 71.
Skinner, whose 67 put him one shot out of the opening-round lead, shot 73 today to make his third cut in as many Senior PGA Championship appearances.
Berry, from Brooklyn Park, Minn., and Gaus are both making their debut in the Championship. Berry’s 69 today included five birdies while Gaus shot 74 today and will play in front of the hometown fans over the weekend.
THREE WITH LOCAL TIES ADVANCE: Of the eight players in the field this week who have connections to the St. Louis area, three made the cut. Jay Haas, born in St. Louis and raised in Belleville, Ill., is tied for fourth at 4 under par. St. Louis natives Bob Gaus (3 over par) and Jay Delsing (4 over par) each will play into the weekend in their Championship debuts.
Paul Trittler, a native of St. Louis and PGA director of instruction at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., failed to make the cut after finishing at 6-over-par 148. Former Bellerive Country Club PGA Head Professional Jerry Tucker of Stuart, Fla., a native of Carbondale, Ill., and PGA Club Professional JC Anderson, born in Springfield, Ill., and a resident of O’Fallon, Mo., each finished today at 7 over par.
Former Senior PGA Champion Tom Wargo of Centralia, Ill., the oldest member of the field at age 70, and Bellerive PGA Director of Instruction Brian Fogt, also missed the cut.
GOING LOW WITH PERRY: Over his last four rounds in the Senior PGA Championship, Kenny Perry is a combined 18 under par. In the final round last year at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich., Perry set the all-time 18-hole scoring record with a 62.
A FIRST IN THE MAKING?: Russ Cochran, who tied for seventh in the 1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive, would be the first left-hander to win the Senior PGA Championship.
AND A FIRST FOR DUFFY: This is the first major championship on the Champions Tour for Duffy Waldorf, who is tied for fourth after 36 holes. However, Waldorf knows Bellerive Country Club quite well, having tied for ninth here in the 1992 PGA Championship.
PAR-5s GOOD TO COCHRAN AND PERRY: Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry have each played the three par 5s at Bellerive in a combined 5 under par. Cochran made an eagle 3 on No. 17 in the opening round. Cochran and Perry are the only players in the field to shoot consecutive rounds in the 60s.
STRINGING IT ALONG: Cochran, who began his round on No. 10, made three straight birdies today (Nos. 17, 18 and 1) and had five birdies over a six-hole span (he also birdied Nos. 3 and 4).
THINGS GO BETTER WITH KOHKI: Japan’s Kohki Idoki (Coke-ee i-Doke-ee”) has the unforgettable name and so far he has put together a memorable two rounds of 71 and 69 in his debut appearance in the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
Idoki, 51, also is making his first-ever trip to the United States, having spent his golf career exclusively in Japan until last year, when he tied for 65th in the Senior British Open at Turnberry, Scotland. That was his first trip to any other country outside his homeland. Idoki said, “there are many happy people in the United States, because if I make a bogey, they don’t cheer that you missed it. They respect any kind of good play.”
Idoki said that he was impressed by the meals that he has had in the Bellerive clubhouse. “The food in the clubhouse is very good taste. The people here are good cooks and take care of guests. I like roast beef and sushi.”
PLAYING LIKE IT WAS 1992: Fifty-six players who competed in the 1992 PGA Championship started on Thursday in the 74th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Of the returnees 21 years later to Bellerive, Russ Cochran, Duffy Waldorf, Dan Forsman and Gene Sauers are on pace to finish among the top 10 just as they did in 1992. That year, Cochran and Forsman tied for seventh, Waldorf tied for ninth, and Sauers tied for second.
PEAKS AND VALLEYS: Sauers experienced the highs and lows of golf over his first six holes today. Sauers bogeyed No. 10 (his first hole of the day), then eagled No. 11 and birdied No. 12. Then the bad news set in, as Sauers bogeyed the 13th and triple bogeyed No. 14. Alas, he came back to birdie No. 15 and finished the back nine at 1-over-par 36.
Sauers shot 1-under-par 35 on the front nine and is at 1 under par for the Championship, with two rounds to go.
NO. 6 THE TOUGHEST: The par-3 sixth hole at Bellerive has proven to be quite a brute over the first 36 holes. The toughest hole on the course, No. 6 has played to a stroke average of 3.537. The penal nature of No. 6 has, thus far, produced:
• 88 bogeys
• 40 double bogeys, and
• 6 scores worse than double bogey
SIX SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONS TO PLAY ON: Six of the eight Senior PGA Champions in the field will play into the weekend here at Bellerive, with Jay Haas (4 under par, tied for fourth) and Tom Watson (2 under par, tied for eighth) among the leaders after Round 2.
The other Senior PGA Champions who made the 36-hole cut:
• Michael Allen and Hale Irwin (1 over par)
• Roger Chapman and John Jacobs (4 over par)
• Mike Reid and Tom Wargo failed to make the cut. Wargo is the last PGA Club Professional to win this Championship, in 1993.
LANGER RALLIES, WILL PLAY THE WEEKEND: What a difference a day makes! Following an opening-round 79, Bernhard Langer of Germany stormed back today for a bogey-free, 4-under-par 67 to make the cut at 4-over-par 146.
JAKE MAKES IT: Peter Jacobsen, winner of the 2004 U.S. Senior Open here at Bellerive, improved by six strokes over his first round. Jacobsen shot 2-under-par 69 today and is at 2-over-par 144.
HALL OF FAME FOR HAAS: Earlier this week, Jay Haas was elected to the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. Haas, who grew up in Belleville, Ill., is a two-time Senior PGA Champion, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour and a 16-time winner on the Champions Tour.
At the induction ceremony in the fall, Haas will be joined by PGA member Mike Small, who has won the PGA Professional National Championship three times, all while building one of the best college programs in the country as the head coach of the University of Illinois men’s golf team. Bob Harris, a longtime PGA Club Professional in the Chicago area, will also be enshrined in the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.