A week after the best players in golf descended upon Jack Nicklaus’ world-class layout at Muirfield Village Golf Club, the spotlight turned to the best in senior golf as they were welcomed to another Golden Bear gem. The Champions Tour’s second major championship of the season, the Regions Tradition, teed off at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala. with Tom Lehman claiming his second consecutive championship at the event.
Shooting a 4-under par 68 on Sunday, Lehman finished 15-under par. He is the first golfer to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds of the Tradition since 1997. After winning the Regions Tradition last year, Lehman went on to win the season-long Charles Schwab Cup and was named 2011 Champions Tour Player of the Year.
Shoal Creek, which opened to much acclaim in 1976, has a strong major championship tradition. The Top-100, Jack Nicklaus design previously hosted the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship, the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship, the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and the 2011 Regions Tradition. The 7,197-yard, par-72, layout will again provide a stern test to the world’s best.
When asked about the condition of the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course for the Regions Tradition, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem replied, “Perfect. It’s perfect… The thing about this golf course, it’s challenging for the really good player – I wouldn’t put myself in that category – but it’s very playable for the average player, too. That’s the hallmark of what greatness is in a golf course.”
The course, which opened for play in 1976, is currently ranked 72nd on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
This year marked the 24th playing of the Tradition. The field was comprised of 76 players with a combined for 740 total wins on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour, including 24 PGA TOUR majors and 18 Champions Tour majors. The format was a 72-hole stroke-play event. As one of the Champions Tour majors, the double Charles Schwab Cup points awarded to the top-10 finishers in the Regions Tradition are a critical factor in determining the Charles Schwab Cup champion at the end of the season. The Charles Schwab Cup will be played on Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course—one of six Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses at Desert Mountain—from Nov. 1-4.
Some of the biggest names in golf, including World Golf Hall of Fame members Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite and Tom Watson, are past champions of The Tradition. The Golden Bear won the event a record four times.