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John Cook wins 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open Golf At Pebble Beach

(the 22nd of 26 Charles Schwab Cup events on the 2014 Champions Tour)

Pebble Beach, CA, September 26-28, 2014; Purse: $1,900,000 ($285,000/winner; 285 Charles Schwab Cup points); Pebble Beach Golf Links, Par/Yards: 72/6,837, Poppy Hills Golf Course, Par/Yards: 71/6,879

Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool with high temperatures in the mid-60s and winds from the WSW at 5-10 mph.   

Final Leaderboard

Position

Name Score

1.

John Cook 67-68-69—204 (-11)

2.

Tom Byrum 68-68-69—205 (-10)

T3.  

Roger Chapman 70-71-65—206 (-9)

Skip Kendall 67-69-70—206 (-9)

5.

Woody Austin 70-71-66—207 (-8)

T6.

Billy Andrade 69-70-69—208 (-7)

Fred Funk 69-69-70—208 (-7)

Lee Janzen 68-70-70—208 (-7)

Kirk Triplett 69-72-67—208 (-7)
Despite making just one birdie over his last 11 holes, John Cook manufactured some key up-and-down par saves to edge Tom Byrum by a stroke for his first Champions Tour title in 20 months. Cook was locked in a duel for most of the back nine with Byrum and Skip Kendall. After par saves at No. 9 (five feet) and No. 11 (10 feet) to stay close to Byrum, he moved into a temporary tie with a five-foot birdie putt at No. 13. Cook then made his best par save of the day at the par-5 14th, holing a five-foot putt after an indifferent third shot landed left of the green. “I was furious after hitting that shot, but turned right around and hit one of the best pitch shots of my career.I couldn’t do that again if I had a bucket of balls,” he said. After Byrum fell out of a tie with a bogey at No. 17, failing to get up and down from the back right greenside bunker, Cook again made a key par save at the same hole, pitching to five feet from the hole from the front portion of the putting surface and sinking the putt. A routine par at the par-5 18th preserved the victory.

With His Victory…John Cook

John Cook has now won at every level on the Monterey Peninsula, claiming his first Champions Tour title in the area. While a junior in high school, Cook won the 1975 California State Amateur at Pebble Beach, as well as his first career title on the PGA TOUR, the 1981 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am, the first of his 11 career wins on that circuit. He also won the pro-am portion of the 1991 AT&T National Pro-Am with actor Jack Wagner as his amateur partner.

John Cook, making his 163rd career start on the Champions Tour this week, won his 10th career title and ended a victory drought of 39 tournaments. This was Cook’s first win since the 2013 Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai 20 months ago.

Cook won today in his seventh appearance in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. His previous-best effort in this tournament was T6 last year. Cooks previous-best finish this year on the Champions Tour was a T6 at the Regions Tradition.

Cook’s win today vaulted him up into the top-30 on the 2014 money list and qualified him for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Cook started the week in 39th place on the money list but after this victory, he moved all the way up into 19th place with $672,533. Cook missed 10 weeks early in the year with a fractured back.

Cook is now on a select list of players winning both a PGA TOUR and Champions Tour event at the same venue, joining Hale Irwin as the only other player to pull off titles on both Tours at Pebble Beach. It’s now happened 16 times in Champions Tour history by 14 different professionals. Here’s the list of players to win titles on each Tour at the same venue before Cook today:

WINNERS AT SAME VENUE

Doug Sanders 1972 Kemper Open
1983 World Seniors Invitational, Quail Hollow CC, Charlotte, N.C.
Don January 1976 MONY Tournament of Champions
1987 MONY Senior Tournament of Champions, LaCosta CC, Carlsbad, Calif.
Billy Casper 1971 Kaiser International
1989 Transamerica, Silverado CC, Napa, Calif.
Al Geiberger 1975 MONY Tournament of Champions
1992-93 Infiniti Senior Tournament of Champions, LaCosta CC, Carlsbad, Calif.
Lee Trevino 1974 PGA Championship
1993 Vantage Championship, Tanglewood GC, Clemmons, N.C.
Jack Nicklaus 1971, 1973, 1977 Tournament of Champions
1994 Mercedes Championships, LaCosta CC, Carlsbad, Calif.
Kermit Zarley 1968 Kaiser International
1994 Transamerica, Silverado CC, Napa, Calif.
Mike Hill 1977 Ohio Kings Island Open
1995 Kroger Senior Classic, Golf Center at Kings Island, Mason, Ohio
Bob Murphy 1968 Thunderbird Invitational
1996 Cadillac NFL Golf Classic, Upper Montclair CC, Clifton, N.J.
Hale Irwin 1976 Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open
1998 U.S. Senior Open, Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Tom Watson 1977 Open Championship
2003 Senior Open Championship, Turnberry (Ailsa), Turnberry, Scotland
Hale Irwin 1984 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
2005 Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach GL, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Jay Haas 1982, 1993 Texas Open
2005 SBC Championship, Oak Hills CC, San Antonio, Texas
Tom Watson 1980 Open Championship
2007 Senior Open Championship, Muirfield, Gullane, Scotland
Fred Funk 1992 Shell Houston Open
2012 Insperity Championship, The Woodlands CC (Tournament Course), The Woodlands, Texas

Final-Round Notes/Statistics at the Nature Valley First Tee Open At Pebble Beach

John Cook became the first player in the history of this event to survive a double-bogey and go on to victory (No. 5, Pebble Beach, Rd. 2). It marked the second consecutive year that an 11-under total was the winning score.

John Cook became the first player since Jeff Sluman (2008) to win this event with three consecutive rounds in the 60s.

John Cook’s one-stroke victory meant the last seven tournaments on the Champions Tour have either been won in a playoff or by a single stroke and overall, 17 of the 22 Champions Tour tournaments this year have been won by either a single stroke or in a playoff.

John Cook earned 285 Charles Schwab Cup points with his victory today.  Jay Haas, currently in third place in the Schwab Cup standings, earned 44 points after a T10 performance and now has 1,639 total points on the season. Both Bernhard Langer (3,624) and Colin Montgomerie (2,991) were idle on the Champions Tour this week.

Tom Byrum finished second in a Champions Tour event for the second time and earned a spot into the upcoming SAS Championship as a result of being the highest non-exempt player among the top 10. Byrum finished second last year at the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic in Calgary.

Skip Kendall, making just his second career start on the Champions Tour and an open qualifier into this week’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, finished T3 as did England’s Roger Chapman. For Chapman, who along with Loren Roberts carded the low rounds of the tournament today, a 7-under-par 65, it was his highest finish in a Champions Tour event since his win at the 2012 U.S. Senior Open. .

Two-time defending champion Kirk Triplett fell short in his quest for a third straight Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach title, registering a T6 this year. Triplett jumped into contention early on with birdies on four of his first five holes but he could only play the last 13 holes in one under and posted a final-round 67, his ninth straight sub-par score at this event.

Scott Dunlap made only the third hole in one in the history of the tournament when he holed a shot with a sand wedge from 103 yards at the par-3 7th hole. Before today, both Allen Doyle and Jeff Sluman had made aces at No. 5 in the third round of the 2009 event. It was the eighth hole-in-one on the Champions Tour this year and marked the second straight event that an ace has been made.

Jay Haas was T10 this week, giving him a top 10 at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach in eight of his 10 appearances at this event. He finished second in 2004, 2006 and 2011 and well as T3 in 2012. He now has 14 top-10 finishes in 18 appearances on the 2014 Champions Tour.

This year, the hardest hole at Pebble Beach was the par-3 12th hole (3.263), yielding just 13 birdies. The easiest hole at Pebble Beach was the par-5 2nd (4.469), giving up nine eagles and 74 birdies.

Playing with Champions Tour player Lee Janzen, junior player Christopher Meyers made double-eagle/albatross on the famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach to leapfrog two other teams and win the pro-junior team competition by two strokes. The 17-year-old Meyers, representing The First Tee of Tucson, had ricocheted his tee shot forward off the rocks and as a result, he only had 203 yards to the flag. He then holed the 4-iron second shot for the dramatic, walk-off victory.  Janzen and Meyers finished 54 holes with a better-ball score of 22-under-par 193. They appeared to be on the outside looking in with three holes to play in the pro-junior competition, but the duo birdied both the 16th and 17th holes to creep closer to the lead, setting up the historic ending on the final hole. It wasn’t the first hole-out for Meyers on the Monterey Peninsula. When he was seven, Meyers had a hole-in-one on the nearby Peter Hay par-3 course at Pebble Beach.

Nick Price withdrew prior to the final round with an injured elbow.

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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