Hallberg speaks on GHC title defense

Tuesday was Media Day for the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn presented by Kia Motors.

In attendance was last year’s tournament champion, Gary Hallberg, who spoke to those in attendance.

“It is very humbling to be here,” Hallberg said. “It is so significant when I sit here. I don’t win a lot of tournaments. This is all new to me.”

Hallberg overcame a five-stroke lead and shot an 11-under-par 61 to capture last year’s GHC title.

His final-round of 61 is record for a lowest final-round score in Champions Tour history.

“Last year was a tremendous year for me,” Hallberg said. “Playing here was the week of a lifetime. I had won two other tournaments growing up on the PGA Tour. I thought that was over. It had been a number of years (since I won). To have that round of my life on a Sunday against Freddie (Couples) and Bernhard Langer, the timing of that was coincidental. It came at the perfect time.”

Hallberg said returning to the spot of such a great victory was an incredible experience.

“It is a great to come back here to such a positive part of my life,” Hallberg said. “Last year, almost every day that I traveled and went to tournaments, I’m sure someone mentioned to me that round I had.

With a field that includes Langer, Masters champion Fuzzy Zoeller, Fred Funk and others, Hallberg knows his chances of repeating will be tough.

“It is going to be a great field,” Hallberg said. “The chances of me standing here next year and saying ‘Hey, I did it twice!’ are pretty slim. It may happen. I hope it does. I had my week last year. I wish all my competitors the best of luck.”