Pavin leads Cap Cana after course-record 63
CAP CANA, Dominican Republic – Looking to put together three impressive rounds for the first time on the Champions Tour, Corey Pavin took a step in that direction Saturday, shooting a course-record 63 to take the lead after two rounds at the Cap Cana Championship.
Pavin had nine birdies in his bogey-free round and is at 13-under 131 at the Punta Espada Golf Club. He broke Bernhard Langer’s 2009 record of 64 to take a one-shot lead over Nick Price (66) and a two-shot margin over former Masters champions Fred Couples (66) and Larry Mize (66).
Russ Cochran was fifth at 9 under after a 67 and Langer’s sparkling 65 left him tied with Tom Pernice Jr. (68) at 8 under.
Olin Browne (70) and David Peoples (70) were tied for eighth at 6 under, and Tommy Armour III (67) and Bob Tway (70) rounded out the top-10.
With virtually no wind for the second straight day, forty players were under par after 36 holes. That left Pavin, in his first season among the over-50 crowd, to light up the scoreboard, jumping from a tie for seventh when the day began to the top.
“Without the wind, you can shoot a good score,” he said of his lowest competitive score since a 61 in the first round of the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, also his last win.
“I made only two putts of any length at all.”
Pavin didn’t need to make any long putts, his irons rarely leaving him far from the hole.
His nine birdies – including four to close out the round – were from 15 feet or less. Four times he was inside six feet and in his last three holes the former U.S. Open champion hit a 5-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron to 2 1/2, 2, and 6 feet, respectively.
“I made a couple 10-to-12 footers early in the round and that helped,” he said of birdies at Nos. 1, 5, 8 and 9.
“I can’t complain.”
Price found that using a belly putter for the third straight week was the missing piece of the puzzle in his game, yielding a ‘clean card’ of six birdies, all from inside 10 feet.
“The last two days and the three days (at Allianz Championship) are as comfortable as I’ve been with the putter in a long time,” said the three-time major championship winner.
“I’m starting to play like I can and there are no (putting) surprises coming along. It’s given me a lot more confidence.”
Couples’ round of 66 marked his 11th consecutive round in the 60s, tying Price (2009) and Lee Trevino (1992) for third most in tour history behind Hale Irwin’s 13 in 1999.
But, like Mize, Couples knew that playing catch-up wasn’t exactly what he wanted heading into Sunday’s final round.
“It was a great day,” he said. “I started one day behind somebody and now I’m two behind somebody. You’ve got to keep up the pace and I did, but on Sunday bogey’s become bigger because it is too hard to catch up.”