Of the combatants in the tightest three-way scramble in Charles Schwab Cup history, Jeff Maggert would seem the obvious underdog.
Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame and cornerstones of Europe's Ryder Cup success in addition to their individual achievements. Maggert, though, has stood equally tall with a renaissance second season on Champions Tour.
Now if the Sea Pines pro can coax one good week out of his right leg.
Maggert has played the season's final month with a pulled muscle in his calf, hurt in a fluke mishap over Labor Day weekend. A winner in two of his previous three events before the injury, he has just one top-10 finish in four starts since.
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"It was bothering me for a few tournaments, but I'd say it's as close to 100 percent as I can get," Maggert said by phone from Arizona, following Wednesday's pro-am round at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. "If I make a few putts, it'll feel like 110 percent."
Maggert enters the season finale just 39 points behind Montgomerie and 27 ahead of third-place Langer, who made it a three-man chase by winning three weeks ago in San Antonio. Should any of them win at Desert Mountain, the Schwab Cup and its $1 million annuity come with it. After that, it gets complicated.
Maggert can finish second and take the Cup as long as Montgomerie finishes behind him and Langer doesn't win. There are also scenarios where he can finish as low as 17th if Montgomerie finishes near the bottom of the 30-man field.
As fate would have it, Maggert's injury took place while relaxing at his Hilton Head Island beach home. Throwing a football in the pool with his son, the golfer lunged at a ball and felt something pop.
"I couldn't walk across the room for a couple of days," he said.
Fortunately, the tour was in a three-week hiatus when the injury happened. The injury affects the push off his right leg, though he was healed enough by the restart to play three of the four ensuing events, taking an early exit from San Antonio to pace himself for the finish.
With four wins, two of them senior majors, Maggert already can claim a successful season. He also recalls telling his son earlier this summer that he'd need five to win the Schwab Cup.
"So far it's fallen right into my plan," he said. "I'd like to finish with one more victory, that's for sure."
PURPLE HEART CLASSIC
Several members of the U.S. Simpson Cup team, along with coach Chris Fearn of Dataw Island, headline the roster for Tuesday's eighth annual Purple Heart Golf Classic to benefit wounded veterans and their families.
In all, some 30 wounded veterans and 200 supporters are expected to spread out over Dataw Island's two courses. Proceeds benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for dependents of those killed or injured in service.
Over the years, the event has raised more than $130,000 for charity organizations helping veterans.
The Simpson Cup is an annual Ryder Cup-style team event between U.S. veterans and their counterparts from Great Britain. Fearn, a Dataw Island assistant pro, served as an instructor for this year's team, which succumbed 9 to 8 at Royal St. George's in England.
Fearn also will conduct his annual golf marathon Monday, with funds earmarked for the Green Beret Foundation. He went 135 holes last year, raising more than $12,500 for Folds of Honor and the OnCourse Foundation.
The Swing for the Memories event returns to Hilton Head National on Nov. 14, with proceeds to benefit the 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer's. Forty percent of funding raised stays in South Carolina to benefit families of Alzheimer's victims, with the remainder going to research.
Entry fees are $100 per ph the scramble event scheduled to start at 10 a.m. An awards presentation will follow, along with a silent auction and raffles. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Denise Sweeney at 843-715-2190.
ACES AND ALBATROSSES