Windless Wakonda was defenseless Friday, and the scoreboard showed it in the first round of the Principal Charity Classic.
No wind, and plenty of birdies on a sun-kissed day.
“I think it opens the door to everybody when it’s calm and soft like this,” said Glen Day, one of the par-breakers. “Everybody’s in it.”
Fifty-three players broke par Friday. Twenty-nine of them shot in the 60s. There were 14 bogey-free rounds. And the day’s scoring average, 70.519, was the lowest for a round since the tournament moved to Wakonda in 2013. The previous low, 70.568, came in the second round in 2014.
And it comes as no surprise that Bernhard Langer took advantage more than anyone else.
The two-time Masters champion, who has won 37 times on the PGA TOUR Champions, shot a bogey-free 8-under-par 64 to take the first-round lead.
“Bogey free is always fun,” Langer said.
Day, who shared the first- and second-round lead a year ago, and Woody Austin were a shot back at 65. And it’s a formidable group at 66.
That’s where you’ll find defending champion Brandt Jobe, perennial Principal contender Tom Lehman and Jerry Kelly, who picked up the third victory of his PGA TOUR Champions career at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai earlier this season. Also there is Doug Garwood who lost in a playoff with Tom Pernice, Jr., at the 2014 Principal Charity Classic.
Lehman, who first played Wakonda when he was attending college at Minnesota, has finished eighth or better in his six previous Principal appearances. He’s now shot in the 60s in six of has last seven rounds at Wakonda.
Jobe is trying to join Jay Haas (2007, 2008) as the only players to successfully defend their Principal title.
“I think if nothing else, you want to have a good showing,” Jobe said. “I think that’s important.”
After struggling to tame Wakonda in first two attempts, a tie for 31st in 2013 and a tie for 48th in 2015, Langer looks to have figured things out.
In his first eight rounds at Wakonda, Langer was 9 under par and had no bogey-free rounds. In the last two rounds, a closing 67 last year and Friday’s 64, he’s a collective 13 under par with two bogey-free rounds.
“I think I have a pretty good idea now how to play to golf course,” said Langer, who finished fourth last year.
Friday’s 64 was Langer’s best round at Wakonda by two strokes. He shot 66 in the first round last year, which shared the lead with Day and Kevin Sutherland.
Day and Jobe were tied for the lead after the second round. Jobe won. Day shot a final-round 76 and tied for 13th.
“Honestly, I could not tell you what I shot,” Day said. “No big deal. It happens to everybody.”
Day said he had no trouble getting over his final round a year go.
“Real easy,” Day said. “I had about three Coors Lights.”
Day has two more laps around Wakonda to make up for last season’s sour finish.
“We’ll just go out and play again,” Day said. “And then when Sunday comes we’ll get up, put on another pair of pants and try again.”
Jobe spent two hours on Wakonda’s driving range after playing in Thursday’s pro-am, trying to find his winning swing again.
“I didn’t like how I played (in the pro-am), and I had time to grind it out (on the range),” Jobe said. “I said, ‘All right, I’m not leaving here until I’ve got what I want to do.’”
The proof was in the practice. Jobe’s bogey-free 66 included three birdies on both nines.
Langer, who turns 61 in August, is chasing Hale Irwin’s PGA TOUR Champions record of 45 victories. He’s won at least once in 12 consecutive seasons after his victory in last month’s Insperity Invitational. He’s been the leading money winner in nine of the last 10 seasons, and is about the pass Irwin as the career earnings leader.
Langer’s got another goal, too. He’s getting closer and closer to shooting his age.
“That’s been my goal for about a year,” Langer said. “So I’m working on it.”
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter
As the defending champion of the Principal Charity Classic, Brandt Jobe returned to Des Moines for a pre-tournament media day on April 23.
His stops included a visit to Blank Children’s Hospital, one of the event’s six tournament charity partners. It was a visit that hit home for Jobe.
He was in eighth grade, just into his teenage years, when he spent a month at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver.
He was suffering from Reye’s Syndrome, an allergic reaction to aspirin.
“One out of three live,” Jobe said. “At first they didn’t know what I had. They thought it was the plague or something. I was in a tented room. My mom and dad came in masks. My dad was a doctor. He was going crazy.”
Reye’s Syndrome was the eventual diagnosis.
“You can’t keep anything down and you start whittling away,” Jobe said. “Your body fights it or it doesn’t, and you die.”
Jobe’s stomach was pumped constantly, and he had IVs in his arm.
“I remember a big day was getting up, walking down the hall and walking back,” Jobe said.
Brandt spent time hanging out with an older boy who had the same diagnosis.
“All of a sudden he’s gone,” Jobe said. “He didn’t make it. I didn’t know.”
Jobe recalls ministers from his family church coming in one day to see him, and started thinking the worse.
“I said to my mom and dad, ‘What are they doing here?’” Jobe said. “I guess I got a little closer than I thought.”
All those memories come back when Brandt, a father of two, makes stops to places like Blank Children’s Hospital. He visited with several kids during his April visit. Jobe gave kids his bobblehead. He putted with several of them on a makeshift green, played video games with others. Kids who first kept their distance ended up sitting on his lap.
“If you can just change their day a little bit,” Jobe said. “They were able to have a little fun. That’s a big deal in their life. I’m glad this tournament is so involved with (Blank Children’s Hospital) here. That’s what it’s all about.”
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter
Defending tournament champion Brandt Jobe, who earned his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic, will be joined in the field of 78 competitors by the following:
Past Principal Charity Classic champions Scott McCarron (’16), Mark Calcavecchia (’15), Tom Pernice, Jr. (’14), Russ Cochran (’13) and Jay Haas (’07, ’08, ’12).
Bernhard Langer, a two-time Masters Tournament champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member. Langer has 37 career PGA TOUR Champions victories, the second-highest total in TOUR history (Hale Irwin leads with 45). This year will mark Langer’s fifth trip to the Principal Charity Classic, where he finished a career-best fourth in 2017.
Corey Pavin, winner of the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and captain of the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team. Pavin, who has 15 career victories on the PGA TOUR, last played at the Principal Charity Classic in 2014. His wife, Lisa (Nguyen) Pavin, grew up in Urbandale, Iowa, and is a University of Iowa graduate.
Lee Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion and past winner of the PLAYERS Championship. Janzen, who was born in Austin, Minnesota, made his first Principal Charity Classic appearance in 2017.
Perennial fan favorites Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, Jesper Parnevik, David Toms and Billy Andrade, who set the current Wakonda Club course record (63) during the second round of the 2016 Principal Charity Classic.
Kevin Sutherland, the 2017 Charles Schwab Cup champion. Sutherland finished T2 in his first trip to the Principal Charity Classic last year.
Jerry Smith, an Iowa native and 2017 Iowa Golf Hall of Fame inductee. Smith, who received a sponsor exemption to play in the 2014 Principal Charity Classic, went on to earn PGA TOUR Champions Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.
Also included in the 2018 Principal Charity Classic field are five players who received sponsor exemptions:
Brian Henninger, a two-time PGA TOUR winner and T2 finisher at the 2015 Principal Charity Classic. Henninger will be making his fifth appearance at Wakonda Club.
Len Mattiace, a 2018 PGA TOUR Champions rookie who won twice on the PGA TOUR during his career. Mattiace is often remembered for recording a 7-under 65 in the final round of the 2003 Masters Tournament to earn his way into a playoff with eventual champion Mike Weir.
Chad Proehl, an Iowa native and the 2017 Iowa Section PGA champion. Proehl, who is the current teaching pro at Sugar Creek Municipal Golf Course, in Waukee, Iowa, has lived in the Des Moines area for the past 33 years. Proehl began his club professional career in 1990 at Wakonda Club and has also worked locally as a golf professional at both Jester Park Golf Course and Echo Valley Country Club.
Mike Small, currently in his 18th year as head men’s golf coach of the University of Illinois, his alma mater. This Spring, he coached the team to its fourth consecutive Big Ten title. Small also has competed on the PGA TOUR and the Web.com Tour, is a three-time winner of the PGA Professional Championship, and in 2017, was named the Senior PGA Professional of the Year. Since turning 50, he has played in seven PGA TOUR Champions events.
Willie Wood, winner of two PGA TOUR Champions events – including a memorable victory at the 2012 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, where Wood sank a 35-foot birdie at the end of regulation to force a playoff with Michael Allen. Wood will be playing in his eighth consecutive Principal Charity Classic.
Tickets to the Principal Charity Classic start at just $20 and may be purchased online at principalcharityclassic.com/tickets or at the tournament gates. Kids 15 and under may attend the tournament for free if accompanied by a ticketed adult. Complimentary admission is also provided for all active duty, retired, veteran and reserve military along with their dependents.
Brandt Jobe celebrated his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory at the 2017 Principal Charity Classic, holding off defending champion Scott McCarron and eventual Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland by one shot at historic Wakonda Club in Des Moines.
Jobe continued his strong play throughout the 2017 season – including a record-tying round of 62 at the U.S. Senior Open – before finishing 7th in the final Charles Schwab Cup standings.
The 51-year-old Texas resident recently returned to Des Moines for the Principal Charity Classic’s 2018 Media Day and visited Wakonda Club for the first time since his victory.
RB: You ended a long drought (403 events on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions) with your victory at the Principal Charity Classic last year. When you sit here and look out at Wakonda’s 18th green, I’m sure that brings back some special memories.
BJ: I’m sitting here envisioning my shot, what club I hit here, what I had to do. It does feel good. I had a lot of close calls on TOUR, and I probably wasn’t as good a player as I should have been. I tried to juggle family and golf a lot. But at the end of the day, I think I made the right decision because I’m close to my kids.
RB: What kept you going during that streak outside the winner’s circle?
BJ: My wife (Jennifer). If I call her up and say, ‘I’m going to do this, or I’m going to play there,’ she’s always been a go. And when you have someone telling you, ‘Go practice, go for it,’ it’s pretty nice to have that support mechanism. I wish I would have done some things differently with my game, but I’ve had a heck of a run. I’ve got a great wife, great kids (daughter, Brittan, and son, Jackson). Everyone has been supportive. And I’m doing what I love to do. I’m over 50, and I’m still playing golf. It doesn’t get much better than that.
RB: You suffered a freak accident back in 2006, when a plastic-and-steel broom handle you were using to clean leaves out of your garage in suburban Dallas snapped, and sliced off the tip of your left thumb and forefinger to the bone. Luckily, you acted quickly, put them on ice and had them reattached successfully. Did you think golf was over?
BJ: My daughter was there, and it was not something a 6-year-old needs to see. I was covered in blood. Luckily, I had a friend down the street (former TOUR player Brian Watts), and he gave me a ride to the hospital. On the ride there I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m done.’
RB: You called a doctor friend of yours, who knew a microsurgeon, Dr. David Zehr (who just happened to be on call at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas). And he was able to put you back together.
BJ: He came in and said, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ I got unlucky with the broom breaking, but I was so lucky that a great doctor was there to help out.
RB: What is it about your left side? You’ve had several surgeries on your left shoulder, left wrist, and then your left hand.
BJ: This one is perfect (holding up his right arm).
RB: You attended the 1978 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado. Isn’t that where golf caught your fancy?
BJ: I was 13 or 14 years old, a big baseball player. I didn’t really play golf. But I thought, ‘How cool is this?’ If you go out and shoot 71, you’re at 71. Playing baseball, I went 1-for-3 and some other kid went 1-for-5, and he’s batting in front of me. Why? Because there are coaches and other things involved. I thought golf was pretty cool. What you shoot is what you are. It was so fair. A brutally honest game. I think that’s what attracted me to it. I played a year of high-school golf (at Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colo.), and I got lucky.
RB: You first met Scott McCarron in the parking lot at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles when you both were freshmen at UCLA. He won his first PGA TOUR Champions title at the 2016 Principal Charity Classic. And then you went out and did the same thing here a year later.
BJ: I wouldn’t have expected this to be Scott McCarron’s first win, at all. And I certainly wouldn’t have expected it to be mine. I thought it would have been at one of the bigger courses, because our advantage is definitely length. But length does have a place (at Wakonda Club), too.
RB: Can you imagine during your first conversation with Scott at Bel-Air if you had said, ‘I bet we both win on the PGA TOUR Champions for the first time in Des Moines, Iowa.’
BJ: That would have been crazy, right? Crazy.
RB: You’re coming off a great 2017 season (one victory, seven top-10s, more than $1 million in earnings). You also matched the record low round in a U.S. Senior Open with a 62 in the third round at Salem Country Club before finishing third. Where does that 62 rank in the memory bank?
BJ: That was fun. Great golf course, a USGA event. A very memorable round. It was very cool to come up to the 18th hole and open up (TV) coverage by hitting a shot in there to four feet, and then make the putt. It was neat for my kids. They were there. They hadn’t gotten a chance to do all the media stuff. So they got to go on FOX (TV) with me, and go in the big USGA (interview room) and be a part of that. It really helped them understand, ‘This is what dad does.’ It was really special for me to have them be a part of that.
RB: Your career resume shows you typically start slow each season and then build momentum as you go. Is that the case again this year?
BJ: If you look at my past seasons, I’m right on track. I’m always working on stuff. Sometimes my tweaks don’t work, sometimes they do. Ballstriking is usually a strength, and it’s been a weakness this year. Putting’s usually the weakness, and it’s been a strength.
RB: You came to Wakonda last year with a bunch of putters, looking to find your stroke. And you found it.
BJ: I’m not a guy who usually changes things. I think I had eight or nine putters on the practice green. I whittled it down to three and took all of them with me during the Pro-Am. I went six holes with the first one I thought I’d putt with, and said, ‘Nah.’ Three holes with the next one, and it wasn’t right. I had this SeeMore I went with the rest of the day, and shot 6 under par. That’s the putter that kind of got things going.
RB: You said you don’t like to change equipment, but you have a bag full of new clubs. What happened?
BJ: I got my equipment broken after the first event of the year (Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai). They ran over my golf clubs. Thank you, American Airlines. They had to pry my TOUR bag apart. Someone ran over them with a truck. Three-wood, gone. Driver, gone. Two new sand wedges, gone. A couple of other shafts, gone. Putter survived, though.
RB: Dialing in the proper equipment is a science. Equipment is your livelihood. What did American tell you?
BJ: They said to send in receipts for when I purchased the equipment. I told them it’s not the money. You don’t understand how much time I’ve put in getting some of those things. The driver, for me, was 30 or 40 shafts of testing, hours and hours of time, going to the factories and doing all of those things. That actually slowed me up quite a bit this year. But I think I’m in pretty good shape now.
RB: The first 2017 PGA Tour Champions event your wife Jennifer attended was the Principal Charity Classic in her home state (she’s from Dubuque). She was going to attend your son’s baseball tournament, as I recall, but family members talked her into coming to Des Moines.
BJ: Her brother and sister both said, ‘Are you crazy? Go.’ She got to see her sisters, her mom and dad. The first tournament she comes to, it’s in her home state, both her sisters and her dad come out, and I win? Pretty amazing.
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter
Editor’s note: The first 500 fans to arrive at the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday, June 10, will receive a free Brandt Jobe bobblehead (pictured above). Can’t wait? Brandt’s bobbleheads are currently available for purchase, while supplies last, at principalcharityclassicstore.com. All proceeds benefit Iowa children’s charities.
The Principal Charity Classic, which was named the 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Tournament of the Year, has now donated approximately $13.5 million to benefit Iowa kids since 2007 (watch video here).
“This level of giving is a direct reflection of the community’s support for the Principal Charity Classic and the incredible commitment of our 375 tournament sponsors,” said Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal®. “This event continues to grow and exceed expectations. In particular, our Birdies For Charity program has seen rapid growth and benefits children’s charities throughout the entire state of Iowa.”
Birdies For Charity organizations solicit donations on their own behalf and receive 100% of every donation they collect, plus a 10% match on every donation thanks to generous funding from Sammons Financial Group and Wells Fargo. Participating organizations must have 501 (c)(3) status and programming for Iowa children, or be a K-12 school in the state.
Funds raised through the tournament also support six Tournament Charity Partners in the Des Moines area: Blank Children’s Hospital, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Mercy Medical Center, United Way of Central Iowa and Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa.
Principal extends title sponsorship
Principal also announced today it has extended its Principal Charity Classic title sponsorship through 2023. Principal has served as title sponsor since 2007, along with Wells Fargo as presenting sponsor. Wells Fargo extended its presenting sponsor role for an additional three years in 2016.
Today’s extension announcement also includes the tournament’s host venue, with Wakonda Club set to host the Principal Charity Classic through 2023.
“Principal is proud to extend its title sponsorship of this world-class golf event and to do so with the support of many dedicated corporate and community partners, and of course the Wakonda Club,” Houston said. “Our goal is for the tournament to flourish for many years to come, and to continue giving back to Greater Des Moines and the state of Iowa.”
The Principal Charity Classic, which drew more than 81,000 fans to historic Wakonda Club in 2017, annually brings some of the biggest names in golf to Des Moines. This year’s tournament featured 27 of the top 30-ranked PGA TOUR Champions players, with Brandt Jobe holding off defending champion Scott McCarron and Kevin Sutherland to win by one shot for his first career PGA TOUR Champions victory.
Additional 2017 competitors included Bernhard Langer, the 2016 PGA TOUR Champions Player of the Year and defending Charles Schwab Cup champion; past Principal Charity Classic champions McCarron, Mark Calcavecchia, Russ Cochran, Jay Haas, Bob Gilder and Tom Pernice, Jr.; and perennial fan favorites such as Billy Andrade, Fred Funk, Tom Lehman, Jesper Parnevik and Fuzzy Zoeller.
The 2018 Principal Charity Classic will take place June 5-10, 2018, at Wakonda Club. For more information or to donate and help the tournament support kids year-round, visit principalcharityclassic.com.
Tom Lehman lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., but he views life through a Midwestern lens.
He was born and raised in Minnesota, and attended college there, before reaching golf’s biggest stage. Lehman won four times on the Web.com Tour. He won five times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1996 British Open. And he’s won 10 times on the PGA TOUR Champions. He is the only golfer to be named player of the year on all three tours.
Lehman has covered a lot of miles, and been in a lot of states, during his career. But the Midwest remains close to his heart. He can relate to the people, and he knows a good thing when he sees it.
“The PGA TOUR Champions belongs in cities like Des Moines,” Lehman said during last week’s Principal Charity Classic at the Wakonda Club. “Big cities like these are major areas, but it’s not Los Angeles, it’s not Atlanta, it’s not Chicago. The people here support the tournament. They come out and make us feel so good. They raise a lot of money for local charities. So I think it’s really a win-win for the PGA TOUR Champions and a win-win for Des Moines.”
Brandt Jobe won for the first time in the PGA TOUR Champions career, receiving a check for $262,500. But once again, charity will be the biggest winner.
Dan Houston, the chairman, president and CEO of Principal, said that he expects this year’s tournament to raise in excess of $2 million for charity. The 2016 tournament raised a record $2,053,725 for the six designated charities – Blank Children’s Hospital, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, Mercy Medical Center, United Way of Central Iowa and Variety – the Children’s Charity of Iowa – as well as the Birdies for Charity partners.
This year’s event is expected to push the number of charity dollars well past the $10 million milestone since Principal became title sponsor in 2007.
That’s some serious win-win.
So are the 1,221 volunteers who stepped up and offered a helping hand. Those volunteers came from 14 states, with ages ranging from 10 to 88.
Raising money for charity is behind Principal’s decision to serve as title sponsor. But Houston will tell you that to make this community a better place, the community needs to be involved. Mission accomplished.
This year, a record 375 corporate sponsors stepped up. That includes everything, from big corporations to family-run businesses.
The Wakonda Club, serving as the host for the fifth year, was a winning partner as well. And players raved about the outstanding conditions of the course, despite the hot, dry conditions.
Despite that heat, a total of 81,550 fans came through the gates during the three days of competition. That included 30,412 on championship Sunday.
This year’s event started in earnest on Friday with an emotional, moving ceremony that included first responders. Des Moines police, led by Chief Dana Wingert, were well represented. Des Moines firefighters took part as well.
On Sunday, Jobe got more than a check. There was also a trophy to take back home to Argyle, Texas. And Wingert presented Jobe with a Des Moines Police Department dress uniform jacket on the 18th green.
As Jobe and Wingert stood side by side, and the fans showed their respect with a stirring ovation, it was pretty evident that the Principal Charity Classic is more than a golf tournament.
It’s a way to thank those who serve, and to help improve and shape Greater Des Moines moving forward with those charity dollars.
As Lehman would say, that’s a win-win.
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter
Brandt Jobe won the Principal Charity Classic Sunday at the Wakonda Club. He outdueled his good friend and college roommate, defending tournament champion Scott McCarron, down the stretch.
Jobe’s wife, Jennifer, is from Dubuque, where her parents still live.
“I just can’t get the smile off my face,” Jennifer said.
Originally, Jennifer wasn’t going to come to Des Moines. She was going to join her son, Jackson, at a baseball tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
“I talked to my brother, Jeff, on the phone and he said, “You’ve got to take advantage of being back home and being there with Brandt,” Jennifer said.
She texted Jeff back on Sunday.
“Thanks,” she told him.
Jobe and Principal Charity Classic tournament director Greg Conrad attended the same high school. Conrad was a freshman at Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colo., when Jobe was a senior. Conrad was a trainer on the baseball team. Jobe was the ace pitcher. Small world, indeed.
Jobe shot a final-round 69 and finished at 14-under-par 202. McCarron, who ran off six straight birdies to fly up the leaderboard, shot a 6-under-par 66 but missed a 41/2-birdie putt on the 18th green to finish one shot behind his former UCLA teammate.
“It was a great finish,” McCarron said. “I just missed one putt. That’s the way it goes. I played really good for a stretch of holes, made six birdies in a row and just couldn’t get any more down the stretch. Brandt Jobe, I’m really happy for him. Really proud of him.”
Jobe won using a new putter. He changed after McCarron told him his putting stunk two weeks after the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
“Yea, how about that,” Jobe said. “I changed putters and win the next week, so go figure.”
The key word there is win. Jobe’s last professional victory came 18 years ago, at the Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour. He had played 403 events on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions, without a victory.
The drought is over, and Jobe has a first-place check for $262,500 to prove it.
“It’s been a long time,” Jobe said. “I lost in a playoff on the PGA TOUR and had a couple of close calls, but it’s hard. You’re out here to win, and I haven’t done as good a job as I would have liked. So this is nice. It’s a little bit of a relief.”
McCarron shared the runner-up spot with Kevin Sutherland, who holed his final shot of the tournament for an eagle-2 on No. 18.
“There’s a little luck involved,” Sutherland said. “But I hit a really good shot.”
Sutherland’s final-round included another eagle at the par-5 13th. A double bogey on the par-3 9th proved costly in his closing 68.
Bernhard Langer, the Schwab Cup points leader and No. 1 money winner this season, closed with a bogey-free 67. Langer missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the final green that would have earned him a share of second.
“I was pleased with most of what I did,” said Langer, who was going for three PGA TOUR Champions victories in a row. “I just didn’t quite have it in me.”
It was still the best showing for Langer at Wakonda, where he tied for 48th in 2015 and tied for 31st in 2013. This was his 141st career Top 10 finish in 197 PGA TOUR Champions events.
Jobe started the final round tied for the lead with Glen Day, and was rock solid the entire round. He had four birdies and one bogey Sunday. But McCarron almost caught him.
Jobe had six straight birdies in a second-round 66 that got him the lead Saturday. McCarron matched that streak, and the two were tied at 13 under par after Jobe made his only bogey of the day at the par-3 14th.
Jobe looked at the leaderboard at one point while McCarron was making his run, and smiled.
“I knew that’s the way it was going to work out,” said Jobe, who regained the lead with a birdie at the par-5 15th.
When McCarron walked off 18 tee, Jobe was on 16 green. The two made eye contact and gave each other a thumbs-up.
McCarron was 41/2 feet away from tying Jobe on the 18th green, but missed it.
“I played to the right side of the cup, but it broke more than I thought it would,” McCarron said.
McCarron figured his chances of going back-to-back at Wakonda were extinguished at that point.
“I’m happy for him,” McCarron said of his roommate as Jobe walked up the 18th fairway. “I’m glad he won it.”
Jobe played a safe second shot to the front of the 18th green, then two-putted for his first PGA TOUR Champions victory. It came on the same green where McCarron had made a birdie putt for his first PGA TOUR Champions victory the year before.
“Wow, how about that,” McCarron said to his wife, Jenny, as Jobe tapped in his final putt. He then walked out to the green and hugged Jobe.
“We’re going to Hawaii,” McCarron said to Jennifer Jobe.
The PGA TOUR Champions winners open the following season at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
“When I saw Scott at (13 under) I thought, “Oh my gosh,’” Jennifer said. “But I wouldn’t have minded coming in second to Scott.”
Instead, Jennifer kissed her winning husband when it was over.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Jennifer said.
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter
Brandt Jobe and Scott McCarron were college freshmen at UCLA when they first met, in the parking lot of the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif.
“He was the first guy I met at UCLA,” McCarron said.
They were told to meet in that parking lot by their coach, Eddie Merrins.
“He said, “You’re going to have a game at Bel-Air with this kid from Colorado,” McCarron said. “I drove 61/2 hours from Sacramento, pulled into the parking lot and he was standing right there. I said, “Are you Brandt Jobe?’ He said, “Are you Scott McCarron?’ I said, “Yes, let’s go play. We went out that night, and became best friends forever.”
Both graduated from UCLA in 1988. Both majored in history. They played the PGA TOUR together. They also spent time on the Canadian Tour and the Hooters Tour at the same time. And now they’re on the PGA TOUR Champions together.
McCarron is the defending champion at the Principal Charity Classic, and Jobe is in position to win the same trophy on Sunday at the Wakonda Club.
Jobe shot a six-under-par 66, the lowest round of the day, and is tied for the lead with Glen Day at 11-under 133 heading into Sunday’s final round.
It was a remarkable round in hot, windy conditions. It was also remarkable because after making a double-bogey 5 at No. 9, Jobe ran off six straight birdies. It matched the longest streak on the PGA TOUR Champions this year. Jerry Smith, David Toms and Billy Mayfair all had six straight at the Allianz Championship.
“I just completely screwed up on No. 9,” Jobe said. “That got me pretty hot. So the it was like, “Let’s go, I have nothing to lose.’ You never know when you’re going to make a bunch in a row, but it worked out nicely.”
Day shot a 67, and is the only player in the field without a bogey through the first two rounds. Dating back to the 2016 Principal Charity Classic, Day has a streak of 47 consecutive bogey-free holes. Day also has an active PGA TOUR Champions streak of 48 consecutive holes without a bogey, dating back to the last 12 holes of the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Day has hit 33 of 36 greens in regulation the first two rounds.
“Luckily, the greens are still fairly receptive,” Day said. “They’re bouncing, and I think they’re perfect. I think the staff has done a wonderful job with the weather they’ve had because it could have gotten away from them real quick.”
Kevin Sutherland will join Jobe and Day in the final pairing, teeing off Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Sutherland shot a second-round 69 and is at 135, two shots back.
Three more players – Tom Lehman, Steve Flesch and Michael Bradley – are tied for fourth at 136.
It should come as no surprise that Lehman is in contention this week. The Minnesota native has finished eighth or better in all five of his previous Principal Charity Classic appearances. The first two were at Glen Oaks. The last three were at Wakonda, a course Lehman first played as a University of Minnesota golfer in the Drake Relays Invitational.
“It’s a good course for me,” said Lehman, who won his 10th career PGA TOUR Champions title earlier this year in Tucson, Ariz. “I think it’s a good golf course for people who drive the ball well and who are solid and can manage their putting. So it kind of plays into my game typically.”
Bernhard Langer, who shared the first-round lead, had a two-shot advantage after holing his second shot for eagle at No. 4 and then making a birdie at No. 5 to go to 9 under. But he had a season-high five bogeys in a round of 71 and starts the final round four shots off the lead. Langer is coming off victories in the Regions Tradition and KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, both majors.
“I wish I was a little closer,” Langer said. “Four back, that’s a lot to make up. But it’s happened before, so hopefully I will play better tomorrow.”
Both McCarron and Jobe finished in the Top 10 at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship two weeks ago. Over dinner and drinks that night, McCarron made a suggestion.
“He said, “What do you think about my putter?’ ” McCarron recalled. “I said, “It stinks. You’ve got to change putters. So he changed his putter this week. And he’s putting great. He should have listened to me a long time ago.”
Jobe said it was his alignment, more than his stroke, that was off. Both McCarron, a three-time winner on the PGA TOUR Champions, and his caddy told Jobe the same thing.
“They were not soft on me,” Jobe said. “At the end of the day I realized, “Alright, that stinks.”
Jobe switched to a putter that helps him align the ball much better. The proof is on the scorecard.
Jobe and he and McCarron “had way too much fun together” at UCLA. Now, Jobe wants to join his friend as a winner of the Principal Charity Classic.
“I’ve seen a lot of his game, and his game is good,” said McCarron, who is tied for seventh heading into Sunday’s final round after shooting 67-70. “He’s one of the best players out here. He’s just got to get some putts rolling.”
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter