DESTIN, Fla. (AP) By this time last year, Loren Roberts had won three times on the Champions Tour. He hasn’t won this season, although he’s playing well. So well that he has the lowest scoring average going into the Boeing Championship.
Roberts said Thursday that he hopes to break through by taking a more relaxed approach, even bringing his family to the Raven Golf Club at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Club in the Florida Panhandle.
“We’ve been down at the beach and we’re having fun,” Roberts said. “So this is like a vacation kind of for me. Obviously, I still want to compete and play golf.”
Roberts has done plenty of both this year. Besides his tour-leading 69.12 scoring average, he’s fifth on the money list with $807,547.
He just hasn’t won, although he came close March 18 at the AT&T Champions Classic in Santa Clarita, Calif., losing to Tom Purtzer on the fourth hole of a playoff. Roberts also finished in a five-way tie for second behind winner Fred Funk on Jan. 29 at the Turtle Bay Championship in Kahuku, Hawaii.
“I’ve been right there a couple times; it just hasn’t gone my way,” said Roberts, in his second year on the over-50 circuit. “It’s just what you’d call sophomore swoon.”
He’ll try to end that Friday through Sunday against a field of 77 other players. It includes defending Boeing champion Bobby Wadkins and this year’s money leader – and only two-time winner – Jay Haas, who admits he’s been inconsistent.
“I’ve been more up and down this year,” Haas said. “When it’s been good, it’s been very good.”
Haas, though, hasn’t been very good in Florida. He has yet to win a title in the Sunshine State where he’s 0-for-102 on the PGA Tour and 0-for-5 on the Champions Tour.
History also is working against Wadkins. No Boeing Champion winner has ever won twice in its 12-year history. It is the oldest Champions Tour event without a repeat winner. For its first 11 years, the tournament was held at The Moors Golf Club near Pensacola, first known as the Emerald Coast Classic and then the Blue Angels Classic.
Roberts admits to being frustrated by his inability to win, but he said one reason for that is the competition has gotten better.
“A lot of the guys have elevated their game,” he said.
Roberts also acknowledged bringing his wife, Kimberly, and their two daughters, Alex, 20, and Addison, 15, may be a distraction.
“I’m hoping that might be a good distraction because I’ve been working pretty doggone hard at it,” he said.