SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club tees off

Cary, NC – The year’s home stretch begins with this week’s 20th-annual SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, North Carolina. Coming off victories in his first two starts on PGA TOUR Champions, Jim Furyk will look to become the first player on any of the six PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours to win each of his first three starts. He will be joined by fellow rookies Ernie Els and Mike Weir, as well as eight of the tournament’s past champions: Jerry Kelly (2019), Bernhard Langer (2018, 2012), Colin Montgomerie (2017), Tom Lehman (2015), Kirk Triplett (2014), Russ Cochran (2013, 2010), Kenny Perry (2011) and Tom Pernice Jr. (2009).

screen capture via PGA web site
  • 6 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame (Ernie Els, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh)
  • 60 PGA TOUR winners with 372 total career victories
  • 51 PGA TOUR Champions winners with 244 total career victories
  • 22 players with a PGA TOUR Champions major victory; 18 with a PGA TOUR major

The final field is available via the following link.

Kelly Returns to Defend SAS Championship Title

At last year’s SAS Championship, Jerry Kelly’s final-round 65 included a front-nine 29 and he won his third tournament of the season with a 15-under total. Entering this week, Kelly has carded 21 straight rounds of par or better, the longest active streak on Tour, and he is No. 5 in the Charles Schwab Cup.

Since joining PGA TOUR Champions in 2017, Kelly has 39 top-10s and seven wins in 78 starts, including his first major victory at the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship in July. This week is Kelly’s fourth opportunity to defend a title on PGA TOUR Champions. In his first three chances:

  • T7, 2020 Ally Challenge
  • T3, 2019 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
  • T11, 2018 Boeing Classic

Furyk’s Win-Win Situation

With wins at The Ally Challenge and PURE Insurance Championship, Jim Furyk became the third player in PGA TOUR Champions history to win his first two starts, joining Bruce Fleisher and Arnold Palmer. Though a third straight victory eluded Fleisher and Palmer, both players posted top-three finishes in their third career starts.

  • Fleisher was runner-up in his third and fourth starts, finishing two shots behind Larry Nelson at the GTE Classic and two shots behind Bob Duval at the Emerald Coast Classic. Fleisher won seven times as a rookie in 1999 and he is one of three players to be named Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
  • After winning the 1980 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship and 1981 U.S. Senior Open, Palmer finished third at the 1981 Michelob Senior Classic, one shot out of a playoff between Don January and Doug Ford.

No player has started his career with three consecutive victories on any of the six PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours. Other milestones related to Furyk seeking his third straight victory:

  • The last player to win three consecutive starts on PGA TOUR Champions
  • Fred Couples in 2010 (Chubb Classic, Hoag Classic, The Cap Cana Championship). His win at the Chubb Classic came in his second start on PGA TOUR Champions.
  • The last player to earn his first three PGA TOUR wins in consecutive starts
  • David Duval in 1997 (Michelob Championship at Kingsmill, Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic, TOUR
  • Championship). His first win came in his 87th start on TOUR as a pro.
  • The last three players to win three consecutive starts on the PGA TOUR
  • Dustin Johnson in 2017 (Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play)
  • Rory McIlroy in 2014 (The Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship)
  • Tiger Woods in 2008 (Buick Invitational, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Arnold Palmer Invitational)

Rookie Roll Call

Through 11 tournaments, this year’s rookie class has amassed six victories and 28 top-10s, and there are currently eight first-year players ranked in the top-30 of the Charles Schwab Cup. Seven of those eight rookies are in this week’s field.

  • Ernie Els (2nd in Schwab Cup) won the Hoag Classic in his third start and he leads the Tour with a 68.29 average.
  • Brett Quigley (7th) became the third rookie in Tour history to lead the Charles Schwab Cup standings after he finished second at The Ally Challenge.
  • Jim Furyk (8th) is the first rookie with multiple wins since Jerry Kelly won twice in 2017. The last rookie with more than two victories was Fred Couples, who won four times in 2010.
  • Robert Karlsson (9th) has the Tour’s fourth-best scoring average (68.64) and has four top-10s.
  • Rod Pampling (13th) has four top-10s this season and he finished T12 in his second start on Tour at last year’s SAS Championship.
  • Shane Bertsch (15th) won the Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge in a playoff over Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry and Glen Day.
  • Mike Weir (28th) has two top-10s and is coming off a T4 finish at the PURE Insurance Championship.

Haas Headlines Open Qualifiers

This week’s four open qualifiers were Dicky Pride, Paul Stankowski, Craig Kanada and Wake Forest men’s golf coach Jerry Haas. Pride and Stankowski qualified for the second week in a row, as Pride finished T25 and Stankowski was T45 at the PURE Insurance Championship. Kanada qualified for the first time since the 2019 Cologuard Classic, and he’ll return to Prestonwood Country Club 25 years after he finished T7 at the Korn Ferry Tour event here in 1995.

Haas, 57, is coming off a win at last month’s South Carolina Open and he will compete alongside older brother Jay. This will be Jerry’s ninth start on Tour and this is the second time he has open qualified for the SAS Championship (67th/2016).

Sixty-Three and Still No. 1

Two-time SAS Championship winner Bernhard Langer has led the Charles Schwab Cup standings six weeks this season. Since 2008, his first full season on Tour, the five-time Charles Schwab Cup champion has led the standings 139 of 321 weeks (43.3%). He leads the Tour with nine top-10s in 11 starts, and he has surpassed $1 million in winnings for the ninth consecutive year.

This week’s field includes eight of the top-10 players in the standings, and any of the top-five players can finish the week No. 1 if he wins and claims the first-place check of $315,000.

SAS Championship History and Record Book

  • In 2018, Bernhard Langer, Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman each shot 62 and shared the first-round lead. It was the first time in PGA TOUR Champions history that three players shot 62 or better in the same round.
  • Three members of the World Golf Hall of Fame have won the SAS Championship: Bernhard Langer (2012, 2018), Colin Montgomerie (2017) and Hale Irwin (2005).
  • A player has won in his PGA TOUR Champions debut 20 times, and it happened at the SAS Championship twice (Mark Wiebe/2007, Tom Pernice Jr./2009).
  • The SAS Championship was the first PGA TOUR Champions win for five players: D.A. Weibring (2003), Mark Wiebe (2007), Tom Pernice, Jr. (2009), Kenny Perry (2011) and Doug Garwood (2016).
  • D.A. Weibring’s five-stroke, come-from-behind win in 2003 was the best in tournament history.
  • The average margin of victory is 2.53 and there has never been a playoff.

By the Numbers: Prestonwood Country Club

Prior to the SAS Championship’s first year in 2001, Prestonwood Country Club hosted a Korn Ferry Tour event from 1994-1997. Notable finishers from those Korn Ferry Tour events include David Toms (T3/1995), Tom Byrum (T19/1995), Joe Durant (T23/1996), Steve Flesch (T2/1997) and Chris DiMarco (T12/1997).

Hardest hole (2019): No. 3 (par 3, 209 yards) – 3.141 average, 24 birdies, 54 bogeys or worse.
Easiest hole (2019): No. 17 (par 5, 503 yards) – 4.397 average, 10 eagles, 128 birdies, fifth-easiest hole on Tour.

PGA TOUR Champions Combines 2020-21 Seasons

Due to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 14 PGA TOUR Champions tournaments have been canceled from the original 27-tournament schedule. In an effort to uphold the competitive integrity of the Charles Schwab Cup, PGA TOUR Champions has combined the 2020 and 2021 seasons and formed a singular 2020-21 season.

In addition, other measures were taken to offset some of the impact made by the cancellation of tournaments.

  • In 2020, the field size of tournaments will increase from 78 to 81 players.
  • In 2020, the three Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs events will be converted into 81-player fields.
  • The Charles Schwab Cup Championship will be reduced from 72 to 54 holes.

Players will retain their 2020 eligibility in 2021, except for the five players in the Q-School category, who will play their guaranteed events. Additionally, the 2020 PGA TOUR Champions Qualifying Tournament will not be conducted, and player awards will not be presented at the end of 2020.

PGA TOUR Champions Schedule and Tournament Recaps

  1. Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai: Miguel Angel Jiménez birdied the second extra hole to win the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai for the second time in his career. Jiménez became the tournament’s eighth repeat champion (2015, 2020) and he extended his streak to seven consecutive years with a victory, the Tour’s second-longest active streak.
  2. Morocco Champions: Brett Quigley won the inaugural Morocco Champions in Marrakech in his second PGA TOUR Champions start, saving par on the final two holes on Saturday to hold off Stephen Ames by one stroke. Winless in 408 career starts on the PGA TOUR, Quigley’s win was his first in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event since 2001 on the Korn Ferry Tour.
  3. Chubb Classic: Scott Parel closed with an 8-under 63 to erase a three-shot deficit and win the Chubb Classic by two with a tournament record-tying 17-under total. It was the third win of his career and he moved to No. 1 in the Charles Schwab Cup for the first time in his career.
  4. Cologuard Classic: Bernhard Langer came from four strokes back to claim his 41st victory on PGA TOUR Champions, just four wins short of all-time leader Hale Irwin. The victory marked Langer’s 14th straight year with at least one win as he became the fifth oldest to claim a title.
  5. Hoag Classic: Ernie Els birdied two of the last four holes to win the Hoag Classic with a 15-under total. Making his third start on Tour, Els won for the first time since the 2013 BMW International Open on the European Tour and he became the 30th World Golf Hall of Fame member to win on PGA TOUR Champions.
  6. The Ally Challenge: Jim Furyk won The Ally Challenge in his PGA TOUR Champions debut, closing with a bogey-free 68 to win by two over Retief Goosen and Brett Quigley. With the victory, Furyk became the 19th player to win his Tour debut and he broke a winless streak of 5 years, 3 months, 14 days.
  7. Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship: Jerry Kelly won his first senior major by closing with a 3-under 69, including an ace on the 12th hole, to win by two strokes over Scott Parel. With the victory, Kelly earned an exemption into the 2021 PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
  8. Charles Schwab Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge: With a 25-foot eagle putt on the first playoff hole, Shane Bertsch defeated Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry and Glen Day to secure the first win of his PGA TOUR Champions career at the Charles Schwab Cup Series at Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Lodge.
  9. Charles Schwab Series at Ozarks National: Phil Mickelson posted a Tour record-tying 191 total and became the 20th player to win his PGA TOUR Champions debut at the Charles Schwab Cup Series at Ozarks National. He became the fourth player to win his debut by four shots or more, and the sixth World Golf Hall of Fame member to win his debut.
  10. Sanford International: In a final round that saw as many as five players tied for the lead, Miguel Angel Jiménez eagled and birdied the par 5s on the back nine to post a 5-under 65 and a one-shot victory at the Sanford International. With the win, he became the 39th player with at least 10 wins on PGA TOUR Champions.ménez
  11. PURE Insurance Championship: Jim Furyk birdied the 18th hole at Pebble Beach to defeat Jerry Kelly on the first extra hole and win the PURE Insurance Championship, his second win in as many tries on PGA TOUR Champions. With the victory, Furyk joined Bruce Fleisher and Arnold Palmer as the only players to win his first two starts on PGA TOUR Champions.
  12. SAS Championship
  13. Dominion Energy Charity Classic
  14. TimberTech Championship
  15. Charles Schwab Cup Championship