Calcavecchia enjoys return to NW -- for good reason

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SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Mark Calcavecchia likes golf holes that are lined by trees on both sides, so it’s no wonder he enjoys playing in the Northwest.

“I like it when the holes are framed,” he said.

Calcavecchia returns to the Boeing Classic this week at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge as the defending champion after beating Russ Cochran on the first hole of a playoff last summer to claim his first Champions Tour victory.

“It was the first win, so that will always be special to me out here on this tour,” said Calcavecchia, 52, who won twice on the PGA Tour in the Vancouver, B.C., area. “Everything kind of suits me here, and I’m looking forward to the week.”

Calcavecchia tees off in the first round Friday at 1 p.m. on the first hole with Bernhard Langer and Fred Funk.

Calcavecchia said he is hitting the ball well and expects to be contending in the final round Sunday.

He won the Montreal Championship earlier this year and is eighth on the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup points list.

“The last couple of years the greens have been firm, (with a) big first bounce, and I assume they’re probably the same way this year. That’s good for me because I hit it pretty high.”

But Calcavecchia said the favorite this week is Langer, who is second on the points list and won this tournament in 2010.

“He’s won here, he’s had 10 top-10s in a row, and he’s obviously in great shape,” Calcavecchia said. “He’s just the ultimate grinder.”

Notes

• Seattle native Fred Couples on what Duffy Waldorf should expect as he makes his debut on the 50-and-over Champions Tour this week: “Making much more money than he has the past few years.”

• Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman is not playing this week, but 11 of the top 15 are in the field.

• Couples tees off Friday at 12:40 p.m. on the first hole with Mark O’Meara and John Cook. Pullman High School graduate Kirk Triplett tees off at 12:50 p.m. on the 10th hole. Tom Kite, the only two-time champion of this event, tees off at 1:10 p.m. on the first hole.

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