By Vartan Kupelian
Courtesy of PGATour.com
The Champions Tour season is winding down and the competition is becoming more intense as the Charles Schwab Cup Championship draws nearer. There is no lack of genuine contenders for the title at this week’s Songdo IBD Championship Presented by Korean Air.
Last year’s inaugural tournament on the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea course in Songdo, Korea, earned high marks. The tournament has a $3 million purse with $456,000 to the winner.
Left-hander Russ Cochran posted a final-round 66 and went on to win the first official Champions Tour event in Asia. He defeated Fred Funk in a playoff after they matched 204 totals. Tom Pernice Jr., missed the playoff by 1 shot after his closing 67.
The Champions Tour Power Rankings for Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea:
The defending champion obviously found something to his liking last year on the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and used the tournament as a jumping board to back-to-back victories.
The season-long Charles Schwab Cup points leader has 1,985 points and a 407-point edge over Mark Calcavecchia. Lehman is No. 1 in Greens in Regulation at 77.78 percent and No. 1 in Total Driving.
Tied for seventh last year in Korea, he’s a three-time winner this year, second on the Money List behind Lehman and fifth on the Charles Schwab Cup points list. Cook lost a playoff at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship.
The Champions Tour’s Player of the Month for August finished sixth in Korea last year after a slow start (74) and he’s coming off a drought-ending victory at the Boeing Classic.
His solid season deserves a crowning achievement and a victory this close to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship certainly would fit the bill. Reeled off top consecutive top-10 finishes at the U.S. Senior Open, 3M Championship and the Senior Players.