Brian Cooper, Q school PGA Tour Champions, takes the lead at Cologuard Classic

Mar, 2023

TUCSON (Ariz.) — Padraig harrington and Steven Alker were the most prominent figures at the last PGA Tour Champions visit to Arizona.

Harrington won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship held at Phoenix Country Club, while Alker took home his first season-long points title.

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Three months later, neither player is on the Cologuard Classic field. After 18 holes, Champions tour veterans Steve Stricker (2 under 70), Miguel Angel Jimenez (under 70), and Bernhard Langer (8 even par 72) were all well off the pace.

All of this adds up to create an opportunity for other people to move. This includes Brian Cooper, 2022 Champions tour Q-school grad.

Cooper shot a 6-under-66 Friday, his seventh round on this season’s tour and his 34th overall. This is Cooper’s lowest score to date. He was one the five Q school survivors last November. The 55-year old came to Tucson with rounds of 78,83-77-77 and 84-83 in his six first outings in 2023.

He attributed some of it to his equipment, for which he claimed he is fully responsible. Two weeks ago, he also sustained a pinched nerve in the neck.

However, so far, all is well with the world.

He said, “Living and playing in Arizona, I mean this week, would really mean something.” “I’m going have family here, friends there. This week would mean so much to me.

He birdied Nos. 12 and 16, playing the back nine first. He birdied Nos. 12 and 16, and then eagled 17th. After three more birdies on nine, he closed with three straight pars.

“I believe the way that I hit it today is indicative of how I have been hitting it, and that’s what it is I expect from myself.” Cooper stated that 66 is a good score for me. Cooper added, “I expect to hit the ball well and give myself opportunities.” “In the first two week, honestly, there were zero opportunities. This is what I expect from myself, not just this week but for the whole year.

Cooper is one shot behind Brett Quigley who led Friday’s round with a 7-under 65. This was the day after the course was covered in a thick layer snow.

It was a wonderful experience. He said that he felt like a child yesterday. “I hadn’t seen snow for so long. It was a great morning. It was fun to see the snowman being built out on the driving range.

On Thursday, March 2, 2023 snow covered Tucson National in Arizona, just ahead of the 2023 Cologuard Classic. (Photo: Cologuard Classic)

Brett Quigley was 0-for his-career on the PGA Tour (408 starts), but won his second-ever start at the Champions tour three year ago.

John Huston is tied for second with Cooper, who won the Champions title 12 years ago. He realizes it is too soon to think about the winner’s circle yet.

“I’m just too smart to do that.” Huston stated that he knows there are many more steps to take.

Kirk Triplett also shot an impressive 66. Alex Cejka is solo fifth at 5. under. After shooting 67s, Jerry Kelly, Marco Dawson and Ken Duke are tournament ambassadors. Mike Weir is tied for sixth at 5 Under.

John Daly shot an 81 in the field as a sponsor exemption and is currently tied for last with Gary Hallberg.

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