Calcavecchia leads Toshiba, Couples in hunt
Saturday, March 17, 2012
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Mark Calcavecchia shot his second straight 4-under 67 in rainy conditions Saturday to take a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic.
Calcavecchia, the 13-time PGA Tour winner who won the Boeing Classic last year for his lone victory on the 50-and-over tour, had six birdies and two bogeys on the Newport Beach Country Club course.
Fred Couples, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with Loren Roberts. Couples shot a 69 in the round delayed about two hours because of the rain. Roberts had a 70.
Calcavecchia bogeyed the par-3 fourth and par-4 sixth holes when the rain was at its strongest. He was on the seventh hole when the horn sounded to suspend play.
"It was tough out there at times," Calcavecchia said. "It was raining heavy. Obviously, right before the delay was the hardest time."
Couples said his back stiffened during the delay, but he managed to make two birdies on the back nine.
"Any golf course is hard when you are playing in rain most of the day and it's windy," Couples said. "But as far as the round, I thought it was pretty good. I did have a couple of bogeys on those holes that were into the wind."
The round was moved up 2 1/2 hours in an effort to play as many holes as possible before the heavy rain arrived.
Calcavecchia returned from the suspension to birdie the par-4 seventh, and also birdied the par-4 ninth, par-4 12th, par-5 15th and par-5 18th. He drove into the greenside bunker on the par-3 17th, but salvaged par with a long putt.
"A tough bunker shot, and I kind of blasted it about 18 feet by, almost off the back of the green there, and I made the downhill 18-footer for par," Calcavecchia said. "These greens are tough."
Couples, playing in the group in front of Calcavecchia, reached the right greenside rough on the 18th in two shots, but his chip shot from 20 foot went 4 feet past the hole and his downhill birdie putt slid by on the left side.
"I actually thought I hit a really good second shot," Couples said. "I didn't even hit it 230 yards with a 3-wood. I didn't misjudge it. I was shocked I couldn't hit it that far."
Bernhard Langer (72) was three strokes back at 5 under along with Mark McNulty (70) and David Eger (71).
Defending champion Nick Price (68) topped the group at 4 under.