Allianz Championship notebook

Slow start not a concern for Elkington

 

Special to The Miami Herald

While Rocco Mediate was making the Champions Tour look easy Saturday in the Allianz Championship on The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, another first-year player on the tour had a slightly tougher time.

Steve Elkington, who was considered along with Mediate as one of the new 50-year-olds who might dominate on the Champions Tour, shot a 74 to go with an opening 71 for a 1-over-par 145 total through two rounds.

That paled in comparison to Mediate’s 11-under 61 on Saturday and 16-under 128 total.

But Elkington might have a bit of an excuse and probably isn’t too worried.

“Last year was a sabbatical on purpose,” he said of taking time away from competitive golf. “My daughter was in her last year of high school, and my son is a pretty good golfer and I coached his team last year.”

He called the family time “… the best decision I ever made.”

Life was leisurely and good for Elkington, and now he is easing his way back into the game. But in actuality, he never did pack his clubs away and let dust and cobwebs settle on them.

“I still played almost every day,” he said.

Bart Bryant, another newcomer to the Champions Tour playing in the Allianz, is making a strong showing with rounds of 67-70 for a 7-under 137 total.

Puttering around

•  Tom Pernice Jr. might be trailing Mediate by three strokes heading into Sunday’s final round, but he can’t help but like Mediate. “It’s nice to see him play well in his first tournament,” Pernice said. “He’s a great guy, and he’s so entertaining. He’s a great addition out here.”

•  Bobby Wadkins made a hole-in-one on the 169-yard eighth hole. The ace was the 12th in his career, but unfortunately he did not see it go in. He said he knew it had gone in when he heard his wife screaming from the crowd.

• As he walked off the 18th green Saturday, a fan thought Mediate should celebrate his 61. The fan yelled out, “Hey, Rocco, got some cigars for you if you want.”

•  Sandy Lyle celebrated his 55th birthday by shooting his second 73 in a row in the tournament.

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