PHOENIX – There’s rarely a commanding lead to be had at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and this year is no exception. While Jim Furyk tees off Sunday in the lead at -16, second round leader Kirk Triplett is nipping at his heels, just one shot behind.
A host of others are within striking distance, including pre-tournament Schwab Cup points leader Berhnard Langer, whose 8-under 63 on Saturday was not only the best round of the day, but the first time the World Golf Hall of Famer shot below his age. Even more remarkable, he accomplished the feat still suffering from a back injury that was painfully evident every time he teed up or marked his ball, having to rely on his caddy to take the ball out of the cup every time he putted out.
At -10, Langer still has a chance, albeit remote, of passing Furyk to win the Cup. He and his son worked the numbers and, according to Dad, if he finishes top 18 and Furyk falters, the Cup could be his for the sixth time.
He talked about his round, his back, and his chances:
Meanwhile Furyk, paired with Phil Mickelson on Saturday, carded a bogey-free 6-under 65 that gave him sole possession of the lead. A win on Sunday would be his fourth victory on PGA TOUR Champions this season, the most of any player. He’s currently tied for the most wins (3), with Darren Clark and Mickelson. He’s certainly not claiming victory yet, but feels good about his chances:
Triplett started the day with a two-shot lead, but a couple bogeys led to a final 2-under 69. The eight-time PGA TOUR Champions winner has gone 777 days without a victory. A diehard Cougar (he went to high school in Pullman, and both parents graduated from WSU), he was looking forward to getting to his Scottsdale home and watching the WSU-Oregon game tonight. And he’s looking forward to being paired with Furyk on Sunday.
It’s important to remember that there is more to play for than the Charles Schwab Cup. The tournament itself features a $2,500,000 purse (winner’s share $440,000), so those with no chance at the Cup annuities can still leave Phoenix and end the season on a very happy financial note. All hope, however that Sunday will not be a repeat of 2020, when a playoff between Kevin Sutherland and Paul Broadhurst had to be called after six holes because of darkness and restarted on Monday. Sutherland was the eventual winner of the nine-hole playoff, for his second Schwab Cup Championship.