Dicks Sporting Goods Open Finalround notebook 2009: 8226 Celebrating

Dicks Sporting Goods Open Finalround notebook

&8226 One day before celebrating his 56th birthday, Lonnie Nielsen won his second Champions Tour event, the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, in his 145th

career start. Nielsen's other Champions Tour victory also came in the state of New York, the 2007 Commerce Bank Championship on Long Island, and came just two days after his 54th birthday. Nielsen also played 124 PGA TOUR events and 14 tournaments on the Nationwide Tour without registering a win. A former club professional near Buffalo, Nielsen has claimed numerous other events in the state of New York, including nine Western New York PGA Section Championships. He also won the New York State Open in 1985 and 1989. &8226 Lonnie Nielsen's 21-under-par 195 total is not only a tournament record but also the lowest 54-hole score on the Champions Tour since R.W. Eaks shot 23-under 193 at last year's 3M Championship. Here's a list of Nielsen's best 54-hole scores of his Champions Tour career: &8226 Lonnie Nielsen becomes the 11th different winner on the Champions Tour this year. His victory earned him a two-year exemption into the season-opening event, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii. &8226 Lonnie Nielsen's final-round 63 is the lowest finish by a winner this year. Nielsen's birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie start is the best birdie-eagle streak on the Champions Tour this year. had a run of birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie earlier this season in the first round of the Toshiba Classic. &8226 It was a good week for Lonnie Nielsen's primary charity in 2009. At the start of the year, Nielsen, through the Iowa PGA Section, became a lead contributor to the GIVE (Golf For Injured Veterans Everywhere) Foundation. He's heading the "Birdies for Heroes Challenge" and is donating $50 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle this year. At the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, Nielsen made 24 birdies and an eagle to net the organization $1700. The GIVE Foundation is committed to supporting the mental, social, physical and emotional well-being of veterans. &8226 In his first appearance in Endicott since 2004, Fred Funk finished T2 at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, his fourth consecutive top-10 finish on the Champions Tour and his second runner-up effort in his last three events. Funk now has a run of 11 straight par/better rounds. In addition to his win at En-Joie in 1996, Funk was also second in 1999 and 2002. &8226 Ronnie Black's T2 this week is his top performance ever on the Champions Tour. Last year at En-Joie, Black finish T7 in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. It was Black's best effort on any Tour since finishing second at the 1989 Centel Classic on the PGA TOUR. The performance also earned Black a spot in the next Champions Tour event, the 3M Championship at the TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota in two weeks.

&8226 Overall, the field average for this year's Dick's Sporting Goods Open was 70.429 (-1.571), the lowest of the year for a full-field 54-hole event. Last year's scoring average at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open was 70.732 (-1.268).

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