Golf

CHAMPIONS - ACE Group Classic Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Friday, February 13th through Sunday, February 15th
SITE: The Twin Eagles Club (Talon Course), Naples, Florida
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II (2008)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,193
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 427 Yds10 - Par 4 383 Yds
2 - Par 3 207 Yds11 - Par 4 421 Yds
3 - Par 5 547 Yds12 - Par 3 195 Yds
4 - Par 4 399 Yds13 - Par 5 520 Yds
5 - Par 3 177 Yds14 - Par 4 441 Yds
6 - Par 5 576 Yds15 - Par 4 398 Yds
7 - Par 4 434 Yds16 - Par 3 162 Yds
8 - Par 4 463 Yds17 - Par 5 544 Yds
9 - Par 4 442 Yds18 - Par 4 457 Yds
--------------------------
36 3,672 Yds36 3,521 Yds
 
Annual:  28th
Television:  Golf Channel - Friday -- 12:30-2:30 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 3-5:30 p.m. (et),
  - Sunday -- 3-5 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Kirk Triplett
Runner-Up:  Olin Browne, Bernhard Langer, Duffy Waldorf
Tournament Record:  196 (Bernhard Langer, 2011; Kenny Perry, 2012)
36-Hole Record:  126 (Kenny Perry, 2012)
Course Record:  62 (Larry Mize, Kenny Perry, 2012; Bernhard Langer, 2013)
18-Hole Record:  61 (Tommy Armour III, 2010 - The Quarry)
Total Purse:  $1,600,000
Shares:  1st Place - $240,000; 2nd Place - $140,800; 3rd Place - $115,200
 
2014 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Kirk Triplett200Michael Allen206
Olin Browne201Colin Montgomerie206
Bernhard Langer201Mark Calcavecchia208
Duffy Waldorf201Mike Goodes208
Jay Haas204Billy Andrade208
 
Past ACE Group Classic Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2014Kirk Triplett (200) -- Olin Browne, Bernhard Langer, Duffy Waldorf
2013Bernhard Langer (204) -- Jay Don Blake
2012Kenny Perry (196) -- Bernhard Langer
2011Bernhard Langer (196) -- Fred Funk)
2010Fred Couples (199) -- Tommy Armour III
2009Loren Roberts (209) -- Gene Jones
2008*Scott Hoch (202) -- Tom Kite, Brad Bryant, Tom Jenkins
2007Bobby Wadkins (201) -- Allen Doyle
2006Loren Roberts (202) -- Brad Bryant, R.W. Eaks
2005Mark James (203) -- Hale Irwin, Tom Wargo
2004*Craig Stadler (206) -- Tom Watson, Gary Koch
2003Vicente Fernandez (202) -- Tom Watson, Des Smyth
2002Hale Irwin (200) -- Tom Watson
2001Gil Morgan (204) -- Dana Quigley
2000*Lanny Wadkins (202) -- Tom Watson, Walter Hall, Jose Maria Canizares
1999Allen Doyle (203) -- Vicente Fernandez
1998Gil Morgan (210) -- Dale Douglass, Ray Floyd
1997Hale Irwin (201) -- Bob Murphy
1996Al Geiberger (202) -- Isao Aoki
1995#Bob Murphy (137) -- Ray Floyd
1994Mike Hill (201) -- Tom Wargo
1993Mike Hill (202) -- Dave Stockton
1992Jimmy Powell (197) -- Lee Trevino
1991Lee Trevino (205) -- Dale Douglass
1990Lee Trevino (200) -- Bruce Crampton
1989Gene Littler (209) -- Harold Henning
1988Gary Player (207) -- Dave Hill

* - Won in Playoff

# - Rain Shortened

Note:Previously called Aetna Challenge (1988-92), Better Homes and
Gardens Challenge (1993), Intellinet Challenge (1994-95), Greater Naples Intellinet Challenge (1996), LG Championship (1997-98).

Top Contenders in the Field
Player2005200620072008200920102011201220132014
Kirk Triplett---------------------------Won
Bernhard Langer------------T-3T-4Won2ndWonT-2
Olin Browne---------------T-17T-6T-21T-20T-2
Duffy Waldorf------------------------T-29T-2
Jay Haas------T-16---T-29T-21T-266thT-295th
Michael Allen------------------T-18T-16T-41T-6
Colin Montgomerie---------------------------T-6
Mike Goodes---------T-35T-7T-4T-12T-3T-14T-8
Tommy Armour III---------------2ndT-18T-50T-29T-11
Tom Pernice, Jr.------------------T-10---T-317th
Rocco Mediate------------------------T-5T-18
Gene Sauers------------------------T-14T-18
Scott Hoch------T-11WonT-193rd------T-20T-30
Loren Roberts---WonT-5T-6WonT-11T-24T-12T-46T-54
John Cook---------T-35T-53T-26T-43T-21T-3---
Paul Goydos------------------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Michael Allen
Darkhorse - Bart Bryant
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Colin Montgomerie) - Finished tied for 59th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Mark O'Meara) - Finished tied for 39th
 
NOTES:
The Champions Tour remains in Florida this week for the ACE Group Classic in Naples. Seven former champions of the tournament are playing -- Kirk Triplett (2014), Bernhard Langer (2011, 2013), Loren Roberts (2006, 2009), Scott Hoch (2008), Bobby Wadkins (2007), Hale Irwin (1997, 2002), and Gil Morgan (1998, 2001). The tournament will be played at the Talon Course at the Twin Eagles Club for the fourth straight year.

Miguel Angel Jimenez captured the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii in January, and Paul Goydos claimed the title at the Allianz Championship last week in Boca Raton, Florida.

This year's tournament marks the 28th anniversary of a Champions Tour event in Naples. On the current schedule, only the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, Texas, has been played longer in the same city (29 years).

Last year, Triplett parred the 18th hole in the final round to close out a 6- under 66 and claim a 1-stroke victory over Olin Browne, Langer and Duffy Waldorf. Triplett entered the final hole tied with Langer and Waldorf for the lead, and watched his competitors both record bogeys to earn his third career win on the Champions Tour. Triplett finished the tournament at 16-under 200.

In 2013, Langer tied the course-record with an opening-round 62 and led wire- to-wire. He finished at 12-under 204, one stroke ahead of Jay Don Blake. Langer has won this tournament twice and finished second, T-2, third and fourth in six appearances.

Kenny Perry fired rounds of 64-62-70 in 2012 to complete a dominating, 5-shot victory. Perry finished at 20-under-par 196, tying the tournament record set by Langer in 2011. He earned the second Champions Tour victory of his career, with the first coming at the 2011 SAS Championship. Perry's 36-hole total of 126 established the all-time lowest score in relation to par for the first two rounds in Champions Tour history.

Langer posted rounds of 64-66-66 to easily cruise to his only Champions Tour title of the year in 2011. Langer finished at 20-under 196 and established a new tournament record, topping Jimmy Powell's mark of 197 from 1992. Langer won by four strokes over Fred Funk at The Quarry.

In 2010, Fred Couples earned his first Champions Tour title in only his second official start. Couples posted an 8-under 64 in the final round to finish at 17-under 199 and won only by a single stroke. Tommy Armour III, who was making his Champions Tour debut, established a new course record with a scorching, 11-under 61 in the final round. Armour came in at 16-under 200. For Couples, it was his first win since the 2003 Houston Open on the PGA Tour.

For the second straight week, Scott Hoch birdied the final two holes of the tournament in 2008 on his way to winning. Hoch birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Tom Kite, Brad Bryant and Tom Jenkins. Hoch, who birdied the 18th in regulation just to get into the extra session, birdied his final two holes the previous week to walk off with the Allianz Championship. It marked the first time Hoch won back-to-back events in his career. Hoch shot rounds of 67-67-68 to finish regulation at 14-under 202.

In 2007, Bobby Wadkins birdied the final hole from 13 feet out to defeat Allen Doyle by one shot. With Wadkins' win in 2007, Bobby and Lanny Wadkins (2000) joined Mike and Dave Hill as the only set of brothers to win the same event on the Champions Tour. Mike and Dave accomplished the feat twice, both winning the Fairfield Barnett Space Coast Classic (Dave in 1987, Mike in 1990) and the PaineWebber Invitational (Dave in 1988, Mike in 1993).

Roberts shot rounds of 67-66-69 to win by one stroke over Brad Bryant and R.W. Eaks in 2006. He finished at 14-under-par 202. The win was Roberts' third straight to open the 2006 Champions Tour season. He became the first player in tour history to win each of the first three official events of the year.

Just three players have posted wire-to-wire victories -- Lee Trevino (1990), Doyle (1999) and Langer (2013). Gene Littler (1989), Mike Hill (1993), Bob Murphy (1995), Couples (2010) and Langer (2011) all led from start to finish, but shared the top spot at one point in their march to the title.

Doyle (1999), Lanny Wadkins (2000) and Couples (2010) won their first Champions Tour titles in Naples, while Littler (1989) and Al Geiberger (1996) claimed their last events here. Trevino (1990), Lanny Wadkins (2000) and Couples (2010) were rookies when they triumphed. Six players have won this event twice -- Trevino (1990-91), Mike Hill (1993-94), Irwin (1997, 2002), Morgan (1998, 2001), Roberts (2006, 2009) and Langer (2011, 2013).

Littler is the oldest winner, triumphing in the 1989 tournament at 58 years, seven months and five days. Lanny Wadkins is the youngest, winning at Pelican Marsh in 2000 at 50 years, two months and eight days.

The winner has come out of the final grouping in each of the last 14 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 triumph in a playoff.

The Champions Tour travels to Arizona in four weeks for the inaugural Tucson Conquistadores Classic at Omni Tucson National.

02/10 19:20:59 ET

As of February 10, 2015, at 07:21 PM ET

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