SVGC plays Eagle Vines; Champion Tour’s Schwab Cup
The Sonoma Valley Golf Club’s season might be coming to a close, but the good weather is still enticing members to make the trip over the hill to Eagle Vines Golf Club in Napa, where, on Oct. 11, they played a team-event, with Jeff Ferrero, Bill Rosa, Dan Weber and Bill Siem combining to shoot a fine score of 114 to the top the First Flight. One-shot behind in second were Russ Hurley, Bob Leal, Dick Moore and Steve Stephenson’s 115 total, with seven shots back in third were Bud Schuerman, Brian Beer and Greg Warren’s 121.
In the Second Flight, Don Richards, Tom Reynolds, Jack Kearney and Dale Charles lit up the links with a first-place 113, two shots ahead of second-place Benny Lee, Bob Ford, Conny Gustafson and John Muncy, with John Wells, Don Farris, Gerry Orme and John Murphy rounded out the top-three with their 119.
The sixth-hole was used for the closest-to-the-pin contest, with Tom Martin’s shot to 8 feet, 5 inches, Mike Cox’s 11-10 and Jeff Ferrero’s 7-2 walking away with their respective division’s prizes.
The folks at the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship have been busy over the last few weeks, first making the announcement of the top-30 who will make their way to TPC Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco for the Oct. 31 through Nov. 6 event. Then came the somewhat shocking announcement that the Schwab Cup, which has been played in Northern California since 2003, will be moving to Desert Mountain Golf Club in Arizona in 2012.
The 30 players who will make the trip to San Francisco, and have a chance to walk away with the Charles Schwab Cup are led by Tom Lehman, who, with a strong finish, will take home the year-long title and, with it, possibly becoming the first player to be named Player of the Year on the Nationwide, PGA and Champions tours.
Lehman holds the top spots in both the Charles Schwab Cup points list and money list. The remainder of the top-30 money winners are John Cook, who comes back to Harding Park as the two-time defending champion of the event; Mark Calcavecchia, who got his first win in Seattle at the Boeing Classic last month; Jeff Sluman, who won at Pebble Beach again this season; and Russ Cochran, who claimed his fist major win a the Senior Open Championship over the summer. Sixth-place on the money list goes to Peter Senior, who has not yet won on the over-50 circuit, but does have 12 top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Nick Price, Mark O’Meara and Olin Browne all have one win this year and find their ticket punched to San Francisco, while Jay Don Blake will make his first appearance in the exclusive season-ending event.
Michael Allen, from San Mateo, will find some home cooking to his liking as he makes another stop at Harding Park, while fan-favorite Fred Couples will surely have a big gallery watching.
David Eger sits at 13th on the money list, with San Jose State alum Mark Wiebe holding 14th.
Kenny Perry got his first win last month and makes his first trip to Harding, along with Jay Haas, who won the season-long Charles Schwab Cup twice, in 2006 and 2008.
Still searching for his first win, Californian Corey Pavin is 17th on the money list, while rookie John Huston is 18th.
The ageless Tom Watson, who won the Senior PGA Championship at 61 in May, is at 19th, while Rod Spittle holds down 20th place.
David Frost enjoyed a consistent year and sits at 21st, with Chien Soon Lu right behind in 22nd-place.
Last year’s Charles Schwab Cup champion, Bernhard Langer, missed much of the season with an injury, but still managed to book a return trip to Harding, while Joey Sindelar will also be back.
Chip Beck will make his first appearance in the season-ending event, and Hale Irwin will once again be in the field at the ripe old age of 66.
Despite not having won yet on the Champions Tour, Tommy Armour III will be back among the contenders, while two-time Charles Schwab Cup champion Loren Roberts made enough to finish 28th on the money list.
The final two qualifiers include Brad Bryant and Tom Pernice Jr., who comes off a top-10 finish at the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Classic last week in Orlando, where in the process, he finished inside the top-125 money winners on that tour and remains exempt for 2012.
With the Charles Schwab company headquartered in San Francisco, it was fitting that the event had been played at Sonoma Golf Club from 2003 through 2009, and then in San Francisco at TPC Harding Park in 2010 and 2011.
It was somewhat of a surprise, then, that the Champions Tour announced last week that the event will move to the Phoenix area and the Desert Mountain Golf Club in 2012.
Desert Mountain is no stranger to the Champions Tour pros, as the Tradition was played there for 13-straight years, from 1989 to 2001.
But it was rumored that the event might have found a home at nearby Silverado Resort in Napa, after hall-of-fame member Johnny Miller purchased the resort last year and had recently spent a large amount of money updating the North Course in the hope that an event would be brought back to the historic layout.
Tour President Mike Stevens was upbeat about the players making the return to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Cochise Course at Desert Mountain, but did not elaborate on how long the event would remain there, as the announcement just indicated 2012.
Many believe that the tournament will be back in the San Francisco area before too long, as the PGA Tour’s contract with the City of San Francisco still calls for at least two more major tournaments to be played at TPC Harding Park within the next few years.
If it does return, look for it to rotate among a few “host” courses, perhaps TPC Harding Park or Silverado.