Boeing Classic welcomes newcomers

SNOQUALMIE — This year’s Boeing Classic includes some top names that are newcomers to the 50-and-over Champions Tour.

Among them are Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, who has 31 wins on the European Tour and is a 2013 inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame; 10-time PGA Tour winner and 1995 PGA Championship winner Steve Elkington, a native of Australia; six-time PGA Tour winner and 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate; and two-time PGA Tour winner and Seattle native Rick Fehr.

A Northwest player returning to the field after a seven-year absence is Peter Jacobsen, a Portland, Ore., native. Jacobsen played in the inaugural Boeing Classic in 2005.

As always on the Champions Tour, physical ailments and conflicting schedules have led to some notable withdrawals. Among the dropouts are Nick Price, Craig Stadler and 2009 Boeing Classic champ Loren Roberts. Price has an elbow injury, while Stadler and Roberts are skipping for unknown reasons.

The field includes five past tournament winners — David Eger (2005), Tom Kite (2006 and 2008), Bernhard Langer (2010), Mark Calcavecchia (2011) and Jay Don Blake (2012).

Crowd favorites

The Boeing Classic is contested in threesomes, and three consecutive groups with midday starting times should have large galleries today.

Teeing off at 12:50 p.m. will be Mediate, Langer and Kenny Perry, the latter the money and points leader on this year’s Champions Tour. Following at 1 p.m. will be Brad Faxon, Fred Funk and Blake, the defending champion. Starting at 1:10 p.m. will be Mark O’Meara, Montgomerie and Seattle native Fred Couples.

Happy to be back

Perry is playing in his third Boeing Classic and said he is delighted to be back.

“It’s one of my favorite places to come in the world,” said the genial Perry, a native of Elizabethtown, Ky. “The weather here is outstanding. And I love the golf course.”

Perry knows the fans will be pulling for Couples, the favorite son, but says other players “are not going to change the way we play.”

Added Perry with a grin, “I like being a spoiler.”

Big jet, big noise

This year’s tournament will begin with the traditional Boeing jet flyover, scheduled for 11:20 a.m.

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