Major Champions Hit Pebble Beach


Wal-Mart First Tee Open Logo 2007PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Defending titlist Scott Simpson will join other previous winners Hale Irwin and Craig Stadler beginning Friday in the fourth annual Wal-Mart First Tee Open.
A field of 78 pros, including Bernhard Langer, who will be making his Champions Tour debut, will compete with 78 juniors and 156 amateurs at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course.
Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open winner, shot a 12-under 204 total last year to defeat David Edwards and Jay Haas by one stroke and claim his first and only Champions Tour title. Irwin won the event in 2005, while Stadler captured the inaugural tournament in 2004.
'I'm usually a pretty good putter, but I haven't putted well this season,' Simpson said. 'But I'll keep going at it until the end of the season.'
Simpson finished sixth on the money list in 2006, his first full season on the Champions Tour, but he's only 38th on the money list this season.
Langer, a three-time PGA Tour tournament titlist and winner of more than 60 tournaments worldwide, will make his Champions Tour debut four days after becoming eligible for the circuit featuring players age 50 and older.
Langer, a two-time Masters winner, has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including second in the Crowne Plaza Invitational last May. He finished tied for third last Sunday in the Dutch Open.
Mark O'Meara, who has won the AT&T Pebble National Pro-Am five times, is also in the First Tee Open field and will be joined by first-time tournament participants Denis Watson, Nick Price, Donnie Hammond, Wayne Grady, Bob Charles, Brad Bryant, Chip Beck and Bill Rogers.
Watson made an 18-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole to end a record seven-man playoff and capture the Boeing Classic last Sunday.
In addition to O'Meara and Irwin, other former Pebble National pro-am tournament winners entered, include: Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller and Peter Jacobsen.
Haas leads the Champions Tour money list with $2,149,658, followed by Brad Bryant ($1,664,019) and Lauren Roberts ($1,593,152). Roberts withdrew from the tournament on Thursday for unspecified reasons. Six official tournaments remain on the schedule following the First Tee Open.
The tournament winner will earn $300,00 of the $2 million purse.
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