NAPLES, FL (FEB. 20, 2012) – Kenny Perry (64-62-70=196) captured his second title on the Champions Tour by dominating the field at The ACE Group Classic. Perry shot a final round two-under par to keep himself five shots clear of defending champion Bernhard Langer. This was Perry’s first victory since winning the 2011 SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, NC.
Perry stressed how much he enjoyed his time in Naples this week. “I love playing out here. I’ve always said that. I have a great time out here and I had a great week this week,” Perry said. “I’ve had a lot of success here in Naples. I really like Naples. I’ve enjoyed my time here.” Perry had previously won two times in Naples, teaming up with John Huston in 2005 and Scott Hoch in 2008 at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, an unofficial PGA TOUR event. This was the first time Perry competed in The ACE Group Classic, as well as his first time playing the Talon Course at TwinEagles.
Perry, who started the final round with a three shot lead over Larry Mize, had three birdies on the front nine to get him to 21-under par for the tournament. Despite two bogeys on the back nine, no one got within four shots of him. Perry totaled 24 birdies – just two short of the tour record for a 54-hole event — and tied Allen Doyle (1999) for the largest margin of victory in the 25-year history of The ACE Group Classic.
Perry also set the Champions Tour’s 36-hole scoring record in relation to par at 18-under following a 62 in Saturday’s second round. Early in the final round it looked like Perry may put himself in position to break several other tournament records. However, a bogey on the final hole dropped Perry into a tie with Langer for the tournament scoring record Langer set last year.
After two very calm days at TwinEagles, wind gusts topped 30 mph during the final round. Even with the wind, Perry was able to run away from the field. Regarding today’s windy conditions, Perry stated, “Yeah, that was pretty concerning when I got out on the range this morning, it was blowing 25 (mph). I was like oh, brother, this golf course is going to play totally different.” Despite the wind, Perry played solid golf throughout the entire round. There is no doubt that his three shot lead at the beginning of the round allowed him to play a little more conservatively. Before his final round Perry stated, “My goal was just to par every hole. My target score was pars, and if I could sneak a birdie in there every now and then, hopefully they draw interest, kind of hang on to them.”
With the win, Perry earned 240 Charles Schwab Cup points. The player earning the most Schwab Cup points throughout the Champions Tour season will receive a $1 million payout.
Langer (66-65-70=201) eagled No. 17 for the third straight day and finished in second place. Tom Lehman, the 2011 Champions Tour Player of the Year, was in second place for most of the final round, but bogeys on No. 12 and No. 17 relegated him to a tie for third. He finished at even par on the day to tie Bill Glasson (68) and Mike Goodes (69) for third. First-round leader Larry Mize was tied for second going into the last hole, but he then hit two balls into the water and dropped to seventh place with a final round 75.
For complete information on The ACE Group Classic visit www.theacegroupclassic.com.