Last updated Jun 11, 5:42am     jimmywomble on Golf    0 Comments    597 Views

Durant my Star at the Constellation

It's major time again on the Champions Tour as they have the Constellation Senior Players Championship. After three years at the Fox Chapel GC in Pittsburgh it's a move to Belmont, Massachussets and the Belmont CC. Bernhard Langer was the winner last year in Pittsburgh, with Kenny Perry & Joe Daley the other two winners there. A major again so the full 72 holes this week, but with a field of just 81 there is no cut and so it will start at 12.29pm UK time on Thursday 11th June.

The Course & Past Winners

Just outside Boston the Belmont CC is a Donald Ross designed parkland course that will play 6,855 yards and a par 71 for these guys. The trees mean the fairways are quite tight and Billy Andrade said keeping it straight is important and the greens are quite challenging.
Recent winners of the event have been:
Year Player Course Score Players Under Par Winning Margin
Bernhard Langer
Fox Chapel GC
Kenny Perry
Fox Chapel GC
Joe Daley
Fox Chapel GC
Fred Couples
Westchester CC
Mark O'Meara
TPC Potomac
Jay Haas
Baltimore CC
D.A. Weibring
Baltimore CC
Loren Roberts
Baltimore CC
Bobby Wadkins
TPC Michigan

The Contenders

No course form to go on and not even Billy Andrade counts as he said he hasn't played it since college, so the best part of 30 years. His course knowledge comes from the fact he was born and lives in Bristol, Rhode Island which is about an hour and a half away. As I have be looking at recently although no course form I have been looking at form in the event and the 51 year old made his debut in this event last year and came 33rd. He teamed up with Joe Durant to win the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf in April and since then has been 33rd at the Insperity Invitational, 13th & 34th at the first two majors the Regions Tradition and Senior PGA Championship, whilst last week he was 10th with opening and closing rounds of 66, but a 76 in between let him down. Only 50th in driving accuracy on tour this year.
Continuing his poor season last week was the defending champion Bernhard Langer. He finished 48th last week, his worst finish on tour since the SAS Championship in October, 2011; and he only had one other finish outside the top 30 in that time, at the 2013 Principal Charity Classic. Poor is perhaps a little harsh as he was 5th & 6th at the two majors prior to last week, and 21st at the Insperity. He does have an excellent record in this event with 13th on debut in 2007 his only result outside the top 10 with 7th, 5th, 9th, 6th, didn't play in 2012, 8th and the win last year. If straightness off the tee is going to be important this week he is 14th in driving accuracy this year.
With Langer dropping the favourite for the event this week is Colin Montgomerie the Charles Schwab Cup & Money List leader. He leads thanks to the win at the Senior PGA Championship, his last event, whilst before that his form had been worsening slightly with 5th in Mississippi then 10th, 15th, 14th and 24th at the first Major the Regions Tradition. Now into his third visit to this event and he was 9th in 2013 & 15th last year. Whilst he is 21st in driving accuracy on tour.
Last week was a watershed moment in the career of Kenny Perry in that he played his final PGA Tour event and will now concentrate 100% on this tour. Not that he was playing well on the PGA Tour with 6 missed cuts in 9 events, including the Memorial last week, although the week before he had been 16th at the Byron Nelson, his best result of the year. On this tour after a slightly slow start with 13th, 21st & 15th he was 2nd at the Insperity Invitational, losing in the playoff and 5th at the Regions Tradition, his last event before heading back to the main tour. Like Langer he was 13th in this event on debut, that was in 2011 which he followed with 8th, a win in 2013 and 4th last year. Only 46th in driving accuracy, but I'm sure that will improve once he plays a few more events.
My pick last week was Joe Durant and he disappointed slightly in that he only finished 2nd, not quite able to challenge in the final round after a couple of bogies in the middle of the round. That continued his good run of form this year where he sits 2nd in the money list after finishing 21st in his first event of the year, in Tucson, was then 4th in Mississippi, 10th at the Greater Gwinnett before teaming up with Billy Andrade for the win at the Legends of Golf. Followed that with 4th at the Insperity and 13th at both previous majors. Made his debut I nthis event last year and was 6th. If driving accuracy is going to be key here then he sits 6th in that stat.
If accuracy is going to be important then perhaps a quick look at the leader in that stat is in order, and that is Fred Funk. Not that the accuracy is helping, 77th last week at the Principal Charity Classic, missed the cut at the Senior PGA, although was 9th at the Regions Tradition. Whilst his best finish was 3rd in the Allianz Championship in February. An ok record in this event until last year when 65th, prior to that he had been between 2nd (08) & 18th (2013) in his 7 other visits from 2006.

My Selection

Given that he served me so well last with 2nd means that Joe Durant continued his good run of form, and sitting 6th in driving accuracy means he should face less problems than most around Belmont CC.


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