2015 Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge

Up-and-Coming Golfers to Compete in
Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge

Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB invites nationwide The First Tee affiliates to compete for a chance to play in the ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am

NAPLES, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2015) – In conjunction with the ACE Group Classic, six The First Tee affiliates from across the nation have been invited to participate in the Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge, tournament officials announce today. Golf to Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge will be hosted by the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB on February 9 and 10 at The TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla.IMG_3106“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for promising young golfers to play on a world-class stage and alongside Champions Tour professionals,” said Tournament Director Gail Graham. “Through its support, the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB is helping grow the game of golf right here in the Paradise Coast as well as in communities across the country.”

The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas, The First Tee of West Michigan, The First Tee of Roanoke and The First Tee of The Triangle will be represented by teams of two players each in in the Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge Playoff on February 9. The top two teams from the 18-hole competition will advance to the Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge on February 10. The two qualifying teams will join The First Tee of Naples/Collier and The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia in the Champions Challenge, a four-hole team competition pairing each team with a Champions Tour player.CLP_8749

The overall winning team will receive an opportunity to play in the ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am courtesy of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB. All teams will be invited to attend the ACE Group Classic Official Pro-Am Pairings Party in conjunction with the tournament.

“We are happy to be able to showcase Florida’s Paradise Coast as a premier destination for the game of golf, while also encouraging young players in the game from around the country,” Jack Wert, Executive Director, Marco Island, Everglades CVB. “As a sponsor of the ACE Group Classic, we hope the inaugural Golf To Paradise—First Tee Champions Challenge will inspire golfers of all ages to play like pros.”

The ACE Group Classic will be hosted at TwinEagles Golf Club on February 9-15. This Champions Tour event has been held since 1988, and will feature 81 of the world’s best players battling for a $1.6 million purse.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Facebook.com/ACEGroupClassic
Twitter @ACEGroupClassic
Instagram/ACEGroupClassic

About the ACE Group
The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Additional information can be found at: www.acegroup.com.

About The TwinEagles Club
TwinEagles is conveniently located just 6 miles east of I-75 off Immokalee Road in Naples. Additional information on this premier community and club can be found at: www.twineagles.com.

About the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB
Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades – has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, a thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining, great golf and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all.

For more information about the Paradise Coast, call 800-688-3600 or visit www.ParadiseCoast.com. Follow the destination on Twitter @ParadiseCoast and on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/theparadisecoast

About The First Tee:
The First Tee is a 501(c)3 nonprofit positive youth development organization whose
Mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that
build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the
game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augintine, Fla., The First
Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools, at other youth-serving
locations and on military installations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values
to nine million young people in all 50 United States and select international locations.
The First Tee’s Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America
PGA TOUR and the USGA. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.

About Octagon
Octagon, (IPG: NYSE) is the world’s largest sponsorship consulting practice, managing and influencing some $3 billion in sponsorship-related spending annually. Octagon also is a pioneer and leader in athlete & personality representation and management. With more than 800+ employees worldwide, Octagon works with hundreds of blue-chip corporate clients and more than 800 athletes & personalities clients and manages more than 5,000 events per year. Octagon’s Events & Hospitality team operates six professional golf tournaments, a professional bass fishing tournament and numerous first-class corporate hospitality events. To learn more about Octagon, visit: www.octagon.com

About the Champions Tour
Collectively, the Champions Tour has the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game, with many of its 32 members in the World Golf Hall of Fame competing regularly in its events. The Tour also counts numerous other major championship winners among its members. The Champions Tour is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older. Conceived in 1980 as the Senior PGA Tour, it started with just four events and purses totaling $475,000. The Champions Tour’s primary purpose is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, protect the integrity of the game and generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays. Points earned in official Charles Schwab Cup events in 2014 determined Bernhard Langer as the Charles Schwab Cup champion, the season-long competition designed to recognize the Champions Tour’s leading player. The Commissioner of the PGA TOUR is Tim Finchem. Greg McLaughlin is President of the Champions Tour. The PGA TOUR’s website is pgatour.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Follow the Champions Tour at facebook.com/ChampionsTour and on Twitter @ChampionsTour.

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Stryker Signs on as Newest Sponsor of the ACE Group Classic

stryker_lock_combinedCommunity: Stryker Health Walk and Mobility Zone will be both educational and fun for fans at the 2015 tournament

Competition: Stryker Ambassadors Fred Funk and Hal Sutton announced in the field

NAPLES, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2015) – ACE Group Classic tournament officials announced Stryker, the Official Joint Replacement Products of the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, as a new partner for the 2015 tournament today. The tournament is being held February 10-15 at the TwinEagles Club in Naples, Fla.

“The partnership with Stryker is the perfect fit for our event and fan base.  With their help, we will provide fans with health conscious, fun and interactive experiences onsite in the Stryker Mobility Zone and the Stryker Health Walk Program,” said Tournament Director Gail Graham.

Stryker Orthopedics will showcase the Stryker Mobility Zone, a joint-health destination at the ACE Group Classic providing consumers with education about the latest options for hip and knee pain.  Located adjacent to the driving range, the Stryker Mobility Zone will feature local physicians providing free hip and knee assessments. Tournament goers will have the chance to interact with onsite physicians, and learn firsthand how Fred Funk and Hal Sutton saved their careers from joint pain.

The Stryker Health Walk will start and finish at the Stryker Mobility Zone where each spectator that visits will be provided a free pedometer courtesy of Stryker to track their steps during their day at the ACE Group Classic. “Our hope is that fans will be inspired by the distance walked at the event and begin to use the pedometer in their everyday lives leading to a healthier, more active lifestyle,” said Bill Huffnagle, President of Stryker.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, tournament officials also announce that Stryker Ambassadors Fred Funk (nine-time Champions Tour and eight-time PGA Tour winner) and Hal Sutton (14-time PGA Tour winner and former Ryder Cup Captain) have committed to play in the 2015 ACE Group Classic. Further field announcements will follow.

For more information, visit www.theacegroupclassic.com or call the Tournament Office at 239.593.3900.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook.com/ACEGroupClassic

Twitter @ACEGroupClassic

Instagram/ACEGroupClassic

About the ACE Group

The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest multiline property and casualty insurers.  With operations in 53 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients.  ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Additional information can be found at: www.acegroup.com.

About The TwinEagles Club
TwinEagles is conveniently located just 6 miles east of I-75 off Immokalee Road in Naples.  Additional information on this premier community and club can be found at: www.twineagles.com.

About the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB

Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades – has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, a thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining, great golf and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all.

For more information about the Paradise Coast, call 800-688-3600 or visit www.ParadiseCoast.com. Follow the destination on Twitter @ParadiseCoast and on Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/theparadisecoast

About Octagon

Octagon, (IPG: NYSE) is the world’s largest sponsorship consulting practice, managing and influencing some $3 billion in sponsorship-related spending annually.  Octagon also is a pioneer and leader in athlete & personality representation and management.  With more than 800+ employees worldwide, Octagon works with hundreds of blue-chip corporate clients and more than 800 athletes & personalities clients and manages more than 5,000 events per year.  Octagon’s Events & Hospitality team operates six professional golf tournaments, a professional bass fishing tournament and numerous first-class corporate hospitality events. To learn more about Octagon, visit: www.octagon.com

About the Champions Tour

Collectively, the Champions Tour has the most recognizable and accomplished players in the game, with many of its 32 members in the World Golf Hall of Fame competing regularly in its events. The Tour also counts numerous other major championship winners among its members. The Champions Tour is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older. Conceived in 1980 as the Senior PGA Tour, it started with just four events and purses totaling $475,000. The Champions Tour’s primary purpose is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, protect the integrity of the game and generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays. Points earned in official Charles Schwab Cup events in 2014 determined Bernhard Langer as the Charles Schwab Cup champion, the season-long competition designed to recognize the Champions Tour’s leading player. The Commissioner of the PGA TOUR is Tim Finchem. Greg McLaughlin is President of the Champions Tour. The PGA TOUR’s website is pgatour.com, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Follow the Champions Tour at facebook.com/ChampionsTour and on Twitter @ChampionsTour.

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CHAMPIONS TOUR UPDATE – 1.12.15

RECENTLY

The Golf Writers Association of America recently announced Bernhard Langer as its Senior Player of the Year. Langer, 57, earned 90 percent of the vote. Two major championship wins were amongst the five titles he claimed in 2014. He also won the season-long Charles Schwab Cup. Rory McIlroy won Male Player of the Year and Stacy Lewis was voted Female Player of the Year. It marks the second award for each player. The winners will be honored at the 43rd ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by The PGA of America, PGA TOUR and USGA on April 8 in Augusta, Ga.

The USGA recently announced that Barbara Nicklaus is the recipient of the 2015 Bob Jones Award. Jack Nicklauswon the award in 1975. They are the first married couple to receive the accolade. The Bob Jones Award is the USGA’s highest honor. It recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships. Mrs. Nicklaus will be presented with the award at the 2015 U.S. Open Championship in June.

Mitsubishi Electric announced their first global, corporate, player sponsorship signing Miguel Ángel Jiménez. Jiménez, winner of the 2014 Greater Gwinnett Championship while making his Champions Tour debut, will wear the Mitsubishi Electric corporate logo on his golf shirt. Other players representing Mitsubishi Electric on the Champions Tour include Fred Couples, Fred Funk and Corey Pavin.

 

COMING UP

The season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai begins on January 19-25 at Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawai’i with an exclusive field of 40 players including defending champion and 2014 Charles Schwab Cup winner Bernhard Langer.

 

Thursday, January 22, the day before the first official round of the 2015 Champions Tour season, is significant as it marks 35 years since the SENIOR TOUR was formally approved by the Tournament Policy Board of the PGA TOUR.

 

This week’s Sony Open in Hawaii on the PGA TOUR features Champions Tour professionals Fred Funk, Paul Goydos, Davis Love III, Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh in the field. Goydos won in Hawaii in September last year at the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship for his first Champions Tour victory.

 

CHARLES SCHWAB CUP

Since the inception of the season-long Charles Schwab Cup competition in 2001, Bernhard Langer is the only player to win the season-opening event at Hualalai and go on to win the Charles Schwab Cup at the end of the same season. Langer achieved this feat in 2014. Langer will also have the opportunity to become the first player to follow a Schwab Cup-winning season with a victory at Hualalai if he successfully defends his title at the 2015 Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

 

NUMBERS

5 – Five World Golf Hall of Fame members have won the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai since it moved to the Hualalai Golf Course in 1997. Bernhard Langer (2014, 2009) and Hale Irwin (2007, 1997) have claimed the title twice, along with Tom Watson (2010), Tom Kite (2002) and Larry Nelson(2001).

DID YOU KNOW?

Although it is longer than 18 other courses on the Champions Tour, the par 72, 7,107-yard Hualalai Golf Course, home to the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, ranked as the easiest course on Tour in 2014. The average score was 2.902 strokes under par each round.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE

“Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision.” – Bernhard Langer.

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

FS Hualalai ‏@FSHualalai Jan 10 Signs are up!! We are ready and waiting ‘FORE’ the @ChampionsTour! #MitsubishiElectric#MEC#lavagolfpic.twitter.com/IWiMTsseGc

Champions Tour Update 12.22.14

RECENTLY

The 2015 Champions Tour tournament schedule will feature 26 tournaments in three countries outside of the United States (Canada, England and China) and 17 different states for a total purse of more than $53 million. Of the 26 tournaments, exactly half will have purses of more than $2 million.

 

When the Pacific Links China Championship (Sept. 14-20, 2015) is played in Tianjin, China it will mark the 10thcountry outside the United States to host a Champions Tour event since the Tour was established in 1980.

 

It was announced recently that numerous organizations will be receiving contributions totaling $1,148,661 from Broome County Community Charities, the host organization of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. The announcement brings Broome County Community Charities, Inc.’s total charitable donation to over $14M since its inception in 1971.

 

The Greater Gwinnett Championship recently announced that the 2014 event raised $178,160 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, among other charities.

Six TPCs were recently awarded top honors in the annual Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards for 2014, including TPC Sugarloaf, host venue of the Greater Gwinnett Championship, where National Award honors/private club division were bestowed on superintendent Mike Crawford.

Curtis Sifford, nephew of World Golf Hall of Fame member Charlie Sifford, died Dec. 5 in Las Vegas. He was 73. Curtis Sifford played 13 years on the PGA Tour starting in 1969. His best season was 1972, when he won $19,973 and had four top-10 finishes. He also had a brief stint on the Champions Tour in 1991 and ’93. Charlie Sifford recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

COMING UP

Final round replays of the Regions Tradition (2-4pm ET) and Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship (4-6pm ET) can be seen January 2, 2015 on Golf Channel.

 

When Bernhard Langer returns to Hualalai on January 19-25, 2015 to defend the Mitsubishi Electric Championship he won in 2014, he will join Hale Irwin, Tom Watson and Dana Quigleyin the ‘$1 million club’. Langer currently has $991,500 in career earnings at the event and requires $8,500 to reach the $1 million figure. A minimum of $10,000 is guaranteed for all contestants.

 

NUMBERS

329 – Bernhard Langer’s longest drive of the year was 329 yards at the 13th hole in round three of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open – the T88th-longest drive on Tour in 2014.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Bernhard Langer shot at least two rounds in the 60s at every Champions Tour event he played in 2014 except the Regions Tradition (74-70-70-71) and the Boeing Classic (70-71-67).

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Christopher Davis ‏@cjd993 Made the PGA Tour’s annual E-card!! @garyplayer@ThePlayerFdn@PGATOURmediapic.twitter.com/zzv50El5Jr

CHAMPIONS TOUR UPDATE – 12.8.14

Bernhard Langer receives the Jack Nicklaus Award as the 2014 Champions Tour Player of the Year. Langer is the first player to win the Jack Nicklaus Award four times, also claiming the trophy in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Scott Dunlap was named the 2014 Champions Tour Rookie of the Year.

Peter Senior estimates it’s the first time in 30 years that he has missed the three big events in his native Australia. Senior, who finished No. 44 on the money list this year, has been hampered by a torn left shoulder muscle and is taking two months off during the Australian summer to repair the damage.

 

It was announced last week that Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales will again host the Senior Open Championship in 2017. This year, Bernhard Langer posted an all-time Champions Tour record with a 13-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie at the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl.

 

Jack Nicklaus is slated to receive Congress’ highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal. Legislation authorizing the award for Nicklaus cleared Congress last week and now awaits the signature of President Barack Obama. Past recipients include Arnold Palmer, Rosa Parks, Joe Louis and Neil Armstrong. Nicklaus received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. He will join Palmer as the only golfers to get both awards.

COMING UP

The team of Stewart & Connor Cink will attempt to defend their PNC Father/Son Challenge this week in Orlando. The field of 20 teams includes 14 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

 

After an eight-year hiatus, Johnny Miller will play with his son Andy in the PNC Father-Son Challenge. In 2006, Miller teamed with son Scott and in 2000, he and son John Jr. lost in a playoff at the event.

Champions Tour major winners David Frost and Colin Montgomerie are in the field for this week’s European Senior Tour MCB Tour Championship along with recent Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament graduates Jerry Smith, Rick Gibson and Cesar Monasterio.

NUMBERS

4 - Raymond Floyd, Larry Nelson, Hale Irwin and Lee Trevino will all make their 17th appearances in the PNC Father-Son Challenge. They are the only four players to have participated in each of the previous 16 tournaments.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Andy Miller, who will join his World Golf Hall of Fame father Johnny at the PNC Father-Son Challenge, was a four-time All-American at Brigham Young University. He also played on the 2000 U.S. Palmer Cup team and turned professional later that year. In 2002, Miller won the State Farm Open on the Web.com Tour after Monday-qualifying. In 2003, he earned his PGA TOUR card at Qualifying School. Current Champions Tour rookies Paul Goydos and Woody Austin were also successful in advancing from the Qualifying School that year.

 

QUOTE TO NOTE

“I truly have a tough time without competing. If I’m out there just playing, I don’t enjoy it. I have to compete. Once I’m done competing, I may never pick up a club ever again.” – Frank Esposito, winner of the 2014 Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament, enjoys the pressure of competition.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

PNC Father/Son ‏@PNCFatherSon “One of the unique things about the tournament is that you get to see the similar traits between each father and son.” ~ Mark O’Meara

 

Kirk Triplett Earns The ACE Group Classic Title

ACE 14 Triplett WinsNAPLES, Fla. (FEB. 16, 2014)Kirk Triplett (67-67-66= -16) earned The ACE Group Classic title in his first appearance at The TwinEagles Club after calming sinking a six-foot par putt on the final hole win. With a potential three-man playoff in the works, missed par putts from defending champion Bernard Langer and Duffy Waldorf opened the door for Triplett to claim his third Champions tour victory and the $240,000 winner’s check.

“In my career I’ve never won out here on this side of the world. I’ve got a couple wins at Pebble and Tucson and Reno and L.A. I’m a West Coast guy through and through, so to win on this Bermuda grass is I think a little bit of a minor miracles for me,” joked Triplett in his post tournament interview.

The dramatic finish on 18 proved fitting as it was the most difficult hole for the week with an average score of 4.383 (+.383). Triplett’s shot sequence on 18 started with a drive that left him at 175 yards out but also placed him in a divot.  He hit a 6 iron just pin high left; ending with a six-foot putt which was two-thirds of was uphill and downhill. Staying in a strong mental game came in clutch once out of the divot and lining up to take his final putt.

 “Sometimes you’re playing these tournaments and you’re not in contention but you have a good last round and you get there with three or four holes to go,” Triplett said, “It is such a shock to be playing with the lead your get really nervous. But since the middle of yesterday I’ve been playing on the leader number, you know, so you kind of get in that mode of it’s not life or death.”

Not only was No. 18 the most difficult for the event, but it was also the toughest to birdie with just 13 in the tournament and only two during the final round with birdies from Jeff Sluman and Scott Dunlap.

Triplett’s win earned him 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. Waldorf finished second for the second consecutive week. After losing in a playoff to Michael Allen last week, Waldorf saw his chances slip away during the final round when he made a bogey on his 54th hole, leaving him T2 with Langer and Olin Browne. For their efforts, they each earn $117,116 in official prize money.

For the fifteenth time in the 27 years of the Champions Tour event, the winner was decided by either a playoff or a single stroke.

Congrats to Kirk Triplett

2014 The ACE Group Classic
(The 3rd of 25 Charles Schwab Cup events on the 2014 Champions Tour)

Naples, Florida
February 16, 2014
The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course)
Par/Yards: 72/7,193
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weather: Mostly sunny and pleasant with highs in the mid-70s with NNW winds at 5-1
Final Results:
1. Kirk Triplett 200/-16
T2. Bernhard Langer 201/-15
Duffy Waldorf 201/-15
Olin Browne 201/-15
5. Jay Haas 204/-12
T6. Michael Allen 206/-10
Colin Montgomerie 206/-10

Kirk Triplett sank a six-foot par putt on the final hole to avoid a four-way playoff and claim his third Champions Tour title by one stroke over Bernhard Langer, Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne. Playing one group in front of Triplett, Langer and Waldorf, Browne missed a birdie opportunity to move into a share of the lead with the trio at 16-under. The drama then switched to the final group. After Waldorf and Langer missed par putts, Triplett calmly sank his winning putt to end the drama. Waldorf’s bogey was especially frustrating since he had played bogey-free golf all afternoon, while Langer had grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17. Waldorf, Langer and Browne all tied for second at 15-under.

The win was Triplett’s third on the Champions Tour. He won the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in both 2012 and 2013 and it marks the third year in succession he has won at least one event.

The victory was worth $240,000 for Triplett as well as earning him 240 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race.

The victory also extended Triplett’s eligibility for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai through 2016.

Kirk Triplett string of bogey-free holes ended at 68 when he made a bogey on No. 5 on Sunday. His streak had started at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in his previous start. However, in his last 90 holes, Triplett has made just two bogeys (No. 8 in 2nd rd. in Hawaii and No. 5 today).

It’s been a productive two weeks for the two Nevada-Reno products on the Champions Tour. Michael Allen claimed the Allianz Championship last week and Triplett was the winner on Sunday in Naples. Both played golf for the Wolf Pack and are members of that school’s athletic Hall of Fame.

Duffy Waldorf finished second for the second consecutive week. After losing in a playoff to Michael Allen last week, Waldorf saw his chances slip away on Sunday when he made a bogey on his 54th hole, leaving him T2 with Olin Browne and Bernhard Langer. He has posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s this year and seven dating back to the end of the 2013 season. It was his fourth runner-up finish in 31 starts on the Champions Tour.

Jay Haas and Jim Rutledge posted the low rounds on Sunday, each shooting an 8-under-par 64. Haas finished fifth overall and it was his third successive top-five finish this year. He was fourth at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and T5 a week ago at the Allianz Championship. Rutledge’s effort helped him vault from a T42 on Saturday to a T11 finish.

Peter Senior rebounded from a slow start. After an opening-round 75 on Friday, Senior followed with rounds of 69-65 to move from a T63 to a T11.

Jay Don Blake earned $5,280 with his T48 finish and surpassed the $10 million mark in all-time earnings.

A week after winning the Allianz Championship in a playoff with Duffy Waldorf, Michael Allen followed with a T6 finish on Sunday.

Bill Andrade posted his first top-10 finish on the Champions Tour when he finished T8 on Sunday. It was just his second start since turning 50 earlier this year. He was T46 last week at the Allianz Championship.

Hal Sutton, who withdrew during his opening round on Friday, was released from an area hospital on Sunday after undergoing a heart procedure. Sutton said he plans to resume practicing this week and expects to play when the Champions Tour resumes next month (March 14-16) at the Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, CA.

Once again the winner of The ACE Group Classic came out of the final grouping making it 14 straight years. The last time it didn’t happen was in 2000 when Lanny Wadkins needed a final-round 64 to rally from three strokes back and eventually triumphed in a playoff.

With Kirk Triplett’s one-stroke victory, 15 of the 27 ACE Group Classics have been decided by either a playoff or one stroke.

In an effort to help raise awareness for American Heart Health Month, The ACE Group Classic and NCH Healthcare Systems encouraged all spectators to wear red on Friday of tournament week. Through the participation of hundreds of fans, players and tournament staff, their efforts helped support a donation of $20,000 to NCH Healthcare System Foundation.

On Saturday each of the day’s SUBWAY® restaurants Putt for Dough winners got to compete on the 18th green for a chance to take home $50,000! Although all participants fell short of the $50,000 grand prize, Ralph DePrisco from Brooklyn, NY won free SUBWAY® for a year for having his 10-foot putt land one foot from the hole. To have claimed the $50,000 prize, participants would have had to make a 10-foot, a 30-foot and a 50-foot putt. Since no player made the 10-foot putt, DePrisco was the winner as the closest of the participants.

Kirk Triplett, Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne all posted three consecutive rounds in the 60s.

Bogey-free rounds:
R1 – Bernhard Langer (64), Olin Browne (66), Kirk Triplett (67), Michael Allen (68), and Jay Don Blake (70).
R2 – Kirk Triplett (67) and Duffy Waldorf (68)
R3 – Jay Haas (64), Wes Short, Jr. (67), Tommy Armour III (69), and Steve Elkington (67)

Scoring Averages at the par-72 The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course) thru three rounds:

Front 9 Back 9 Total Cumulative
36.275 35.300 71.575
36.563 36.275 72.838
35.325 35.475 70.800 71.738

A total of 31 players posted rounds in the 60s and 49 finished below par on Sunday. In the previous two rounds there were a combined 27 rounds in the 60s and 68 sub-par rounds.

The most difficult hole for the event was No. 18 with an average score of 4.383 (+.383), while No. 3 was the easiest at 4.504 (-.496). There were 9 eagles and 118 birdies.

Not only was No. 18 the most difficult for the event, but it was also the toughest to birdie with just 13 in the tournament and just two on Sunday -– Jeff Sluman and Scott Dunlap. A year ago it was the second-most-difficult finishing hole on the Champions Tour (4.339). Only Royal Birkdale (Senior British Open) was harder.

Final Round Pairings

Sunday, Feb. 16
Final Round Pairings

TEE #1
10:00 Tom Purtzer Scottsdale, AZ 75 69 144
Peter Senior Queensland, Australia 75 69 144
Brad Bryant Lakeland, FL 72 73 145
10:10 Gary Koch Tampa, FL 73 71 144
Scott Hoch Orlando, FL 70 74 144
Mark Brooks Austin, TX 70 74 144
10:20 Larry Mize Columbus, GA 71 73 144
Brian Henninger Wilsonville, OR 72 72 144
Jay Don Blake St. George, UT 70 74 144
10:30 Mike Reid Westminster, MD 71 73 144
Morris Hatalsky Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 72 72 144
John Inman Durham, NC 71 73 144
10:40 Lee Rinker Jupiter, FL 70 73 143
Steve Pate Westlake Village, CA 73 70 143
Jim Thorpe Heathrow, FL 70 73 143
10:50 Wes Short, Jr. Austin, TX 69 73 142
Tom Kite Austin, TX 71 72 143
Bart Bryant Winter Garden, FL 71 72 143
11:00 Mark Calcavecchia Tequesta, FL 73 69 142
Mark O’Meara Houston, TX 70 72 142
David Eger Charlotte, NC 69 73 142
11:10 Steve Lowery Birmingham, AL 68 72 140
Tommy Armour III Dallas, TX 68 72 140
Mike Goodes Reidsville, NC 68 72 140
11:20 Tom Pernice Jr. Nashville, TN 69 71 140
Chien Soon Lu Taipei, Taiwan 69 71 140
Jay Haas Greenville, SC 68 72 140
11:30 Rocco Mediate Greensburg, PA 70 70 140
Kenny Perry Franklin, KY 70 70 140
Rod Spittle Ontario, Canada 70 70 140
11:40 Michael Allen Scottsdale, AZ 68 71 139
Billy Andrade Atlanta, GA 71 69 140
Tom Lehman Scottsdale, AZ 70 70 140
11:50 Bill Glasson Stillwater, OK 69 69 138
Gene Sauers Savannah, GA 70 69 139
Mark McNulty Orlando, FL 68 71 139
12:00 Olin Browne Tequesta, FL 66 69 135
Colin Montgomerie Perthshire, Scotland 70 67 137
Bob Tway Edmond, OK 65 72 137
12:10 Kirk Triplett Scottsdale, AZ 67 67 134
Bernhard Langer Munich, Germany 64 70 134
Duffy Waldorf New Smyrna Beach, FL 67 68 135
TEE #10
10:00 Fuzzy Zoeller Floyds Knob, IN 72 73 145
Roger Chapman Ascot, England 72 73 145
Jim Rutledge Victoria, Canada 72 73 145
10:10 Bobby Clampett Bonita Springs, FL 70 75 145
David Frost West Palm Beach, FL 71 75 146
John Harris Minneapolis, MN 71 75 146
10:20 Jeff Sluman Hinsdale, IL 74 72 146
Steve Elkington Sydney, Australia 70 76 146
John Riegger Henderson, NV 68 78 146
10:30 Peter Jacobsen Bonita Springs, FL 71 76 147
Kohki Idoki Hyogo, Japan 72 75 147
Scott Dunlap Duluth, GA 72 75 147
10:40 Joey Sindelar Horseheads, NY 73 74 147
Willie Wood Edmond, OK 75 72 147
Loren Roberts Memphis, TN 75 72 147
10:50 Hale Irwin Paradise Valley, AZ 75 72 147
Tom Byrum San Antonio, TX 76 71 147
Andrew Magee Paradise Valley, AZ 76 71 147
11:00 Esteban Toledo Mexicali, Mexico 76 71 147
Marco Dawson Merrit Island, FL 71 77 148
Rick Fehr Anthem, AZ 71 77 148
11:10 Dan Forsman Provo, UT 72 76 148
Greg Bruckner Manhattan Beach, CA 75 73 148
Jim Gallagher, Jr. Greenwood, MS 71 78 149
11:20 Dana Quigley West Palm Beach, FL 74 75 149
Bob Gilder Corvallis, OR 74 75 149
Mark Wiebe Denver, CO 76 73 149
11:30 Bruce Fleisher Greenville, SC 72 78 150
Nick Price Hobe Sound, FL 70 80 150
Russ Cochran Paducah, KY 75 75 150
11:40 Tom Watson White Sulphur Springs, WV 77 73 150
Larry Nelson Marietta, GA 77 74 151
Brad Faxon Barrington, RI 77 74 151
11:50 Wayne Levi Naples, FL 74 78 152
Scott Simpson San Diego, CA 75 77 152
Jeff Hart Solana Beach, CA 76 76 152
12:00 Bobby Wadkins Richmond, VA 77 77 154
Curtis Strange Morehead City, NC 78 76 154

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Friday Recap

First-Round Notes – Friday, February 14, 2014
2014 The ACE Group Classic

(The 3rd of 25 Charles Schwab Cup events on the 2014 Champions Tour)
Naples, Florida
February 14, 2014        

The TwinEagles Club (Talon Course)
Par/Yards: 72/7,193

Weather: Sunny and pleasant with highs in the upper-60s with WSW winds at 6-12 mph.

Current Leaderboard:
1. Bernhard Langer 64/-8
2. Bob Tway 65/-7
3. Olin Browne 66/-6
T4. Duffy Waldorf 67/-5
T4. Kirk Triplett 67/-5
T6. 7 players tied at 4-under-par 68

Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened defense of his 2013 crown by firing an 8-under-par 64 to grab a one-stroke lead over Bob Tway after the opening round of The ACE Group Classic. Langer’s round featured eight birdies, including all four par-5 holes. Olin Browne finished with a 6-under-par 66, and is currently third, followed by Duffy Waldorf and Kirk Triplett at 5-under-par 67.

No player has enjoyed more recent success in this tournament than Bernhard Langer. In addition to his wins in 2011 and 2013, he was second in 2012, T3 in 2009 and T4 in 2010. Coming into this year’s event, he has earned $795,200 in his five previous starts, an average of $159,200 per starts in Naples. In addition 10 of his 16 rounds have been in the 60s.

Bernhard Langer has already posted six rounds in the 60s in seven starts this year, and has a scoring average of 65.71 per round.

One week after falling to Michael Allen in a two-hole playoff, Duffy Waldorf continued his strong play, shooting a 5-under-par 67 on Friday. It was his fourth straight round in the 60s so far in 2014.

Since the start of the 2012 season, Bernhard Langer has finished in the top 10 in 37 of his previous 46 Champions Tour events.

This marks the 17th time Bernhard Langer has led or shared the first-round lead in a Champions Tour event in his career and the third time here at The ACE Group Classic. He was T1 here in 2011 (with Russ Cochran) and led outright in 2013. He went on to win both times.

For the second consecutive year at The ACE Group Classic, Bob Tway opened with a 7-under-par 65. He is currently second, one stroke behind Bernhard Langer.

Two players were forced to withdraw on Friday. D. A. Weibring withdrew prior to the start of his round with a rib injury (replaced by Willie Wood), while Hal Sutton withdrew after eight holes due to a stomach virus.

Last week’s champion, Michael Allen, posted a 4-under-par 68 and is among seven players tied for sixth place. Allen had tied the Champions Tour’s 18-hole scoring record in his first round at the Allianz Championship last week with a 60.

Jeff Sluman is playing in his 82ndconsecutive Champions Tour event.

Bogey-free rounds:
R1 – Bernhard Langer (64), Olin Browne (66), Kirk Triplett (67), Michael Allen (68), and Jay Don Blake (70).

A total of 17 players posted rounds in the 60s and 44 finished below par on Friday.

The most difficult hole on Friday was No. 18 with an average score of 4.400 (+.400), while No. 13 was the easiest at 4.588 (-.412). There were 37 birdies. No. 7 was the most difficult to birdie with just five.

Second Round Pairings

Saturday, Feb. 15
Second Round Pairings

TEE #1
10:00 Tom Kite Austin, TX 71
Bart Bryant Winter Garden, FL 71
David Frost West Palm Beach, FL 71
10:10 John Inman Durham, NC 71
Peter Jacobsen Bonita Springs, FL 71
Jim Gallagher, Jr. Greenwood, MS 71
10:20 Rick Fehr Anthem, AZ 71
Billy Andrade Atlanta, GA 71
Larry Mize Columbus, GA 71
10:30 Jay Don Blake St. George, UT 70
Lee Rinker Jupiter, FL 70
John Harris Minneapolis, MN 71
10:40 Tom Lehman Scottsdale, AZ 70
Nick Price Hobe Sound, FL 70
Colin Montgomerie Perthshire, Scotland 70
10:50 Scott Hoch Orlando, FL 70
Rocco Mediate Greensburg, PA 70
Kenny Perry Franklin, KY 70
11:00 Mark Brooks Austin, TX 70
Rod Spittle Ontario, Canada 70
Mark O’Meara Houston, TX 70
11:10 Bobby Clampett Bonita Springs, FL 70
Gene Sauers Savannah, GA 70
Jim Thorpe Heathrow, FL 70
11:20 Tom Pernice Jr. Nashville, TN 69
David Eger Charlotte, NC 69
Steve Elkington Sydney, Australia 70
11:30 Bill Glasson Stillwater, OK 69
Chien Soon Lu Taipei, Taiwan 69
Wes Short, Jr. Austin, TX 69
11:40 Jay Haas Greenville, SC 68
Mark McNulty Orlando, FL 68
Michael Allen Scottsdale, AZ 68
11:50 Steve Lowery Birmingham, AL 68
Tommy Armour III Dallas, TX 68
John Riegger Henderson, NV 68
12:00 Duffy Waldorf New Smyrna Beach, FL 67
Kirk Triplett Scottsdale, AZ 67
Mike Goodes Reidsville, NC 68
12:10 Bernhard Langer Munich, Germany 64
Bob Tway Edmond, OK 65
Olin Browne Tequesta, FL 66
TEE #10
10:00 Mike Reid Westminster, MD 71
Marco Dawson Merrit Island, FL 71
Morris Hatalsky Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 72
10:10 Brad Bryant Lakeland, FL 72
Fuzzy Zoeller Floyds Knob, IN 72
Bruce Fleisher Greenville, SC 72
10:20 Brian Henninger Wilsonville, OR 72
Kohki Idoki Hyogo, Japan 72
Dan Forsman Provo, UT 72
10:30 Roger Chapman Ascot, England 72
Jim Rutledge Victoria, Canada 72
Scott Dunlap Duluth, GA 72
10:40 Steve Pate Westlake Village, CA 73
Joey Sindelar Horseheads, NY 73
Gary Koch Tampa, FL 73
10:50 Mark Calcavecchia Tequesta, FL 73
Dana Quigley West Palm Beach, FL 74
Wayne Levi Naples, FL 74
11:00 Jeff Sluman Hinsdale, IL 74
Bob Gilder Corvallis, OR 74
Tom Purtzer Scottsdale, AZ 75
11:10 Peter Senior Queensland, Australia 75
Scott Simpson San Diego, CA 75
Willie Wood Edmond, OK 75
11:20 Loren Roberts Memphis, TN 75
Russ Cochran Paducah, KY 75
Hale Irwin Paradise Valley, AZ 75
11:30 Greg Bruckner Manhattan Beach, CA 75
Tom Byrum San Antonio, TX 76
Andrew Magee Paradise Valley, AZ 76
11:40 Mark Wiebe Denver, CO 76
Esteban Toledo Mexicali, Mexico 76
Jeff Hart Solana Beach, CA 76
11:50 Bobby Wadkins Richmond, VA 77
Larry Nelson Marietta, GA 77
Tom Watson White Sulphur Springs, WV 77
12:00 Brad Faxon Barrington, RI 77
Curtis Strange Morehead City, NC 78

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