TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. — As a player who had his PGA Tour card for three years in the 1990s but never managed to win enough money to keep his playing privileges for the following season, Sonny Skinner knows how easy it is for a player to be overly demanding of himself.
But time has softened some of those hard edges and Skinner, now 52, is content with his status as an instructor and top-level player among club professionals.
“I definitely know that’s been an issue with me,” Skinner said on Thursday after a 4-under-par 67 in the first round of the 74th Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club. “I think it is for everybody that plays golf and can break par. You push yourself real hard and you tend to get on yourself tremendously hard. You don’t need anybody else to get on you; we get on ourselves enough and to a fault.
“So as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that I need to be a little easier with myself. As I started teaching golf the last eight years, I started with the attitude that, ‘Why don’t I treat myself the same way I ...
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TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. — The moment Roger Chapman has waited for all his life has arrived. He’s happy the week is finally here and so is his wife, Cathy.
“The two weeks before (this week),” Chapman conceded, “I was, if you asked Cathy, a bit grumpy.”
Thirty-two years after he turned professional, Chapman enjoyed the season he always thought he was capable of — two major titles in 2012, the Senior PGA and U.S. Senior Open, in the brief span of six weeks. This is what he had in mind following an amateur career in which he won the English Amateur and played in the Walker Cup, where he was part of two matches on the same day that resulted in wins over Hal Sutton.
“I had a couple of weeks off in Scottsdale and I every moment that I had I was thinking of this week,” Chapman said Wednesday on the eve of the start of his Senior PGA Championship defense. “I talked about it last night at the (Champions) dinner. I keep using the word ‘special,’ but it was an incredible year that I have had. It’s difficult to ...
Mexico’s Esteban Toledo won the Insperity Championship on Cinco de Mayo. Cool story, but that’s just the half of it. In March, older brother Mario, who helped Toledo become an accomplished bantamweight boxer in his youth, died in San Diego only days before planning to watch Esteban compete at the Toshiba Classic.
Though Toledo hung up the gloves after complications from an emergency appendectomy, he still possesses a fighter’s spirit. Knocked down a few times in 289 starts on the PGA Tour without a victory, he never gave up on his dream. Toledo, 50, making his ninth Champions Tour start, won in Houston with a par on the third playoff hole, and dropped to his knees and looked to the heavens. Next up: This week’s Senior PGA.
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You won back in 2005 on the Nationwide Tour, but what did it mean to win your biggest title to date?
Toledo: I was going through a tough time. I just lost my older brother right before the Toshiba Classic. He was 56 years old. I drove three hours to Mexicali to pay my respects. I told my brother I’m going to win for him by the end ...
SAVANNAH, Ga. – After teaming with Craig Stadler for two runner-up finishes in three tries at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, Jeff Sluman decided it was time for a change.
He called Brad Faxon nearly two years ago to court him as a teammate for the Champion Tour's annual team competition and the new pairing paid off on Sunday as theyn combined for a final-round 7-under-par 65 to finish at 23-under for a one-stroke victory at the Club at Savannah Harbor.
"I had a wonderful four, five years with Stads and all that, but like everything else, it was time," Sluman said.
When Sluman called Faxon on Aug. 1, 2011, Faxon — who was becoming eligible for the Champions Tour — was flattered yet somewhat perplexed. Sluman's voice came over the line as a whisper. Asked why he was speaking so softly, Sluman replied "I don't want Stads to know."
Sluman and Stadler had partnered for the Legends tournament for 2008, 2009 and 2011, with runner-up finishes in the first two events highlighting those appearances.
After tie for third in their debut as a team last year, Sluman and Faxon came through in the better-ball format this time ...
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Roger Chapman and Jay Don Blake teamed to shoot an 11-under 61 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Legends of Golf better-ball tournament.
Chapman and Blake were 17 under. The teams of Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman, Brad Faxon-Jeff Sluman, Scott Hoch-Jim Gallagher Jr., Craig Stadler-Kirk Triplett and Brad Faxon-Jeff Sluman were tied for second.
"The way it's all bunched up, it's all set up for somebody to shoot really low," Lehman said. "Like a 60. Or a 59."
The winning teams have shot a 10-under 62 or better in the final round each of the last four years.
Chapman and Blake bring a nothing-to-lose attitude into the finale. The two credited another of their Saturday playing partners, Peter Jacobsen, for their second-round run. Jacobsen, teaming with D.A. Weibring, birdied six of his first eight holes and created "momentum" for all four players in the group.
Chapman parlayed the positive vibes into six straight birdies to start the second nine. Blake added a birdie at No. 8, a par 3 and their 17th hole of the day, courtesy of a 40-foot bunker shot.
"We made the turn, and I just kind ...
DULUTH, Ga. — Bernhard Langer, a three-time Champions Tour player of the year, said he's never had a better start to a season.
Langer relied on his short game to bail him out of trouble early and he added to his impressive start to the season by shooting a 67 to win the inaugural Greater Gwinnett Championship by three strokes Sunday.
He had six birdies for his fifth top-three finish in six events. He also won the Ace Group Classic in Naples, Fla., and was the tour's points leader even before his successful three days at TPC Sugarloaf.
"I've had very good starts before but this is exceptional so far," Langer said. "I don't think I've ever had anything like this."
Langer, who finished 10-under 206 for the tournament, took control with a 40-foot chip-in for birdie on No. 10.
Tom Lehman, whose 67 included birdies on 17 and 18, tied for second at 7 under with Tom Pernice Jr. Pernice made a move with an eagle on No. 15 and added a birdie on 18 for a 70.
Langer opened with a 1-over 73 on Friday before recovering with a 66 on Saturday.
SAUCIER, Miss. — Michael Allen was stunned for a second, staring at the 4-foot par putt he missed on the 18th hole that dropped him into a tie with Bernhard Langer for the lead at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Then he felt the whipping wind — gusting to 30 mph at times — hitting him the face. Maybe he wasn't in such a bad spot after all.
"It was very, very tough to judge the wind out there," Allen said.
Sure enough, the 54-year-old was back on the 18th green celebrating about 45 minutes later.
Allen started the day two shots behind the leaders, but made five birdies on the front nine to vault into the lead and held on for his first victory of the season and fourth on the Champions Tour. He navigated the windy conditions brilliantly at Fallen Oak until the final five holes, where he had three bogeys.
He finished the day with a 5-under 67 and was 11 under for the tournament, but the missed putt on 18 had put a victory in jeopardy.
"That was a very, very empty feeling," Allen said. "A terrible feeling."
Turns out he had already done enough to win.
SAUCIER, Miss. — Corey Pavin birdied the first six holes in a blistering start Saturday in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
The rest of his day wasn't as impressive, but the 53-year-old Pavin still walked off the 18th green with a smile on his face. He wasn't about to complain about the 5-under 67 that put him in contention for his first Champions Tour victory of the season.
Instead, he focused on the six straight birdies as a good omen for the final round. Pavin has only made six straight birdies in a tournament one other time — at the PGA Tour's 2006 U.S. Bank Championship — and he finished that weekend with a victory.
"It's fun to do," Pavin said. "That's my longest string of birdies in a tournament ever. I got a little frisky on seven, trying to break my own record and I three-putted. But still, it was a good day and obviously a great start."
Pavin joined Bernhard Langer, Roger Chapman and Joe Daley atop the second-round leaderboard. All four took advantage of Fallen Oak's soft greens and ideal windless conditions to join a crowded leaderboard that features 14 players within three ...
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — David Frost won the Toshiba Classic on Sunday, shooting a 65 to defeat Fred Couples by five strokes and tie the tournament record of 19-under 194 set by Jay Haas in 2007.
Frost joined 2011 winner Nick Price as the only golfers to lead wire to wire in the event's 19 years. It was his fourth career Champions Tour victory and first since last year's AT&T Championship in San Antonio.
"I felt as good as I did the first two days," Frost said. "I really enjoyed the tussle with Freddy (Couples) out there."
In four events this season, Frost hasn't finished out of the top 10, posting ties for ninth, fifth and losing in a playoff to John Cook in Hawaii in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
"I've been playing really, really consistently and haven't had any of those ups and downs," Frost said. "I know they will come, but right now I am playing well."
Couples, the 2010 champion, began the day a stroke behind Frost and tied him with a birdie on the first hole. That was the last time Frost would relinquish the lead. He birdied the second ...
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — David Frost maintained a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples in the Champions Tour's Toshiba Classic, eagling the final hole Saturday for a 5-under 66.
After opening with a 63, Frost had a 13-under 129 total. The South African made an 18-foot putt for the eagle on the par-5 18th, while Couples two-putted from 35 feet for birdie and a 66 of his own.
"It was a day where Freddy and I battled it out," Frost said. "We were on top of the leaderboard all day and he made a nice birdie on 10 and I followed it with one and we did the same thing on 13. I think we played steady golf."
Jim Gallagher Jr. was third at 8 under after a 68, and Scott Hoch (64), Jay Haas (66), Bob Tway (67) and D.A. Weibring (68) were another stroke back at Newport Beach Country Club. Hoch is making his second start after returning from left hand and wrist injuries.
"You never know, someone could go out and shoot 63 early in the day that can always happen," Frost said. "I just will have to play my normal game and 68 will be a ...
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — David Frost broke par for eighth time in 10 Champions Tour rounds this year, shooting an 8-under 63 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples after the first round of the Toshiba Classic.
"I've been working on my game and I've worked with a guy in Germany since 2007," Frost said. "I've really enjoyed the biomechanical part of the golf game. It's given me a lot more flow to the game."
The South African had eight birdies in his bogey-free round, four on the first five holes on the back nine and another on the par-5 closing hole. Three of his approach shots stopped within a foot of the hole for tap-in birdies.
"I feel a lot more relaxed," Frost said. "I don't feel too much pressure in my game, and it allows me a lot more freedom. And so what if I hit one or two bad shots. I feel that things are quite in place and until things really go wrong, then I'll start worrying."
Frost has three victories on the 50-and-over tour. In three events this year, he has finished no worse than a tie ...
NAPLES, Fla. — Bernhard Langer's second ACE Group Classic title in three years involved a little more drama then he would have preferred.
The German two-putted for par from 50 feet on the 18th to finish at 12-under 204, surviving three bogeys and a double bogey to finish one stroke ahead of Jay Don Blake at TwinEagles' Talon Course.
The winner in 2011 and the runner-up last year, Langer earned his 17th victory on the tour. It's the seventh year the 55-year-old has won at least one tournament on the tour.
"I'm certainly relieved now, having won," Langer said. "It was definitely a grind. I was hoping to come down to the last hole with, whatever, a three-shot lead or something, make it easy."
Blake's 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th looked like it had a chance until the last few feet, when it turned and grazed the edge of the cup.
"I actually thought I had made it, gave it a good effort, but just wasn't good enough," said Blake, who was playing ahead of Langer in the next-to-last group.
Tom Pernice Jr. tied for third with John Cook, who birdied Nos. 16 and 18 ...
The way Mike Hulbert sees it, thank goodness for Davis Love III’s advice and caffeine.
Hulbert, a three-time PGA Tour winner and twice an assistant U.S. Ryder Cup captain, got into last week’s Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla., on a sponsor exemption. As it turned out, that was the easy part. Getting to the tournament, though, was something of a trains-planes-automobiles adventure.
Hulbert played in the three-day Pebble Beach Pro-Am Invitational the previous weekend, then took a Sunday night redeye flight back to his hometown of Orlando. He arrived at 5:30 a.m. Monday. Problem was, he had committed to an Allianz Pro-Am with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start that day.
So it was time to get busy. Hulbert went home for about an hour, repacked, took his 15-year-old son to school, loaded up his SUV and then sped south down Florida's Turnpike starting at 8 a.m. He made the trip in a quick 2 hours, 20 minutes, in time even to visit the equipment trailer to get his set tweaked.
“If you're not going between 80 and 85 mph (on the turnpike), you’re getting blown off the road ...
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Rocco Mediate birdied the 18th hole and finished with a 1-under par 71 to win the Allianz Championship on Sunday.
He finished the tournament at 17-under 199 and became the 16th player to have a winning debut on the Champions Tour.
Mediate's 4-foot birdie putt came after Tom Pernice Jr. missed a 5-footer at No. 18 that could have forced a playoff.
Mediate started the day with a three-shot lead, lost it by the 14th hole, but regained it when Pernice bogeyed the par-4 17th from a greenside bunker. Mediate protected that lead with a birdie on the par-5 closing hole.
Pernice, who had a final-round 70, finished tied with Bernhard Langer (68) for second place. It was Langer's fourth top-three finish in this event in the past five years. Langer won here in 2010.
Mediate won six PGA Tour titles and also lost a memorable playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Mediate shot a course-record 61 in the second round on Saturday.
Mark O'Meara (69) and defending champion Corey Pavin (69) were both six shots off the lead.
BOCA RATON, Fla. — Rocco Mediate shot an 11-under 61 on Saturday, setting a course record and building a three-shot lead over Tom Pernice Jr. heading into the final round of the Allianz Championship.
Mediate is trying to become the 16th player to win his first start on the Champions Tour. He won six times on the PGA Tour and is probably best remembered for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open.
Mediate had five consecutive birdies on the front nine, highlighted by a drive to the green at the par-4 seventh hole. He added three more birdies after the turn and closed with a birdie at the 17th and a 10-foot eagle at the 18th.
It was the lowest round of Mediate’s career, one better than his 62 at Colonial in 2001, and it snapped the tournament record of 63 set by Craig Stadler in 2007. Mediate’s total of 128 through two rounds was three better than the 36-hole mark of 131 shared by Tim Simpson and Tommy Armour III.
“It has to be my best round I’ve played in a long time,” Mediate said. “Obviously, it was my lowest. I haven ...