5 players to watch at Shaw Charity Classic

Stephen Ames tees off at the tenth hole during first round of play at the Canadian Open golf championship Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Rocco Mediate’s record-tying win at the inaugural Shaw Charity Classic overshadowed many of the other stars in the field at Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club. That was understandable—Mediate shot 22-under to win last year, including tying the course record of 63—and there were few challengers for the title.

This year the course is slightly different—the par five 15th hole has been turned into a monstrous 492-yard par four—meaning scoring will likely not be as low. That factor, and a rain that softened the course on Thursday, certainly brings a couple of the tour’s longer hitters, names like Fred Couples or John Riegger, into the mix.

The tournament kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday. Here’s five players to watch at the Champions Tour event, which features golf’s biggest names over the age of 50.

Where: Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club
When: Friday to Sunday
What: Shaw Charity Classic—a Champions Tour event for golfers over the age of 50

Rocco Mediate

It is impossible to count out the effervescent Mediate, who clearly has great affection for Calgary and its fans. He recorded three incredible rounds last year—63, 64, 64—to win the tournament with some ease. Mediate has five Top 10 finishes this year on the Champions Tour, but his season hasn’t rivaled his 2013 campaign where he recorded two wins.

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Fred Couples

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The coolest man in golf, Masters winner Couples is always a fan favorite wherever he plays. Now 55, Couples is still among the longest hitters on the Champions Tour and despite playing a limited schedule this year—he’s only appeared in eight tournaments on the senior circuit—the golfer with the silky smooth swing has a win and five Top 10 finishes. He finished T10 at last year’s Shaw Charity Classic.

Bernhard Langer

With five wins on the Champions Tour this year, Langer comes to the Shaw Charity Classic having apparently located the fountain of youth. Langer, 57, who didn’t play the Shaw Charity Classic last year, enters this week having won two of his last four events.

“Being able to win two majors and five tournaments is a real blessing,” said Langer. “It doesn’t happen very often.”

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He’s right—and Langer is easily one of field’s top picks.

Kirk Triplett

After finishing in a tie for third at last year’s Shaw Charity Classic, Triplett comes to this year’s tournament having recorded a Top 10 finish in half of the events he’s played. Triplett, who once played on the Canadian Tour (now PGA Tour Canada) before moving to the PGA Tour, where he played on the Presidents Cup team in 2000. With three wins on the Champions Tour, Triplett, who is 52, has become one of the tour’s most consistent players.

Stephen Ames

The Calgary resident has only played in one Champions Tour event since turning pro, and this is his debut in front of a hometown crowd. The four-time PGA Tour winner, including the 2006 Players Championship, was one of the founders of the Shaw Charity Classic and has been a big supporter of trying to bring the RBC Canadian Open to Calgary. Ames, who was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week, has struggled on the PGA Tour this year, and says he intends to play a split between Champions Tour and PGA Tour tournaments next year.

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