Watson Wins PGA Senior Style
Sunday, Tom Watson attained something he could never realize in 30 Hall-of-Fame seasons on the PGA Tour.
Watson held off Jim Thorpe to capture his first Senior major at the Senior PGA Championship at the Ridgewood Country Club in Parmaus, N.J.
Watsons no stranger to major victories; he won eight of them on the regular tour ' five British Opens, two Masters and one U.S. Open. However, he never captured the PGA Championship.
Watson comments on his win at the PGA Seniors
Now he has ' on the 50-and-over circuit.
You dont know how grateful I am. The PGA (trophy) now has the name Watson on it, after all these years, said the exuberant 51-year-old.
Watson fired a final-round 5-under-par 67 to finish the tournament at 14-under, one shot clear of Jim Thorpe, who carded a Sunday 68.
The contest was as narrow as the margin of victory would indicate.
Watson led by three shots entering the par-4 14th, the hole where he recorded the first of five consecutive birdies in the third round.
This time, however, the tide turned. Watson three-putted for bogey, while Thorpe birdied from six feet. The two-shot swing cut Thorpes deficit to a single stroke.
Following a pair of pars at No. 15, both men placed their approaches on the par-4 16th along similar lines. Thorpe was 18 feet from the cup, Watson just 12.
Earlier in the day, Thorpe was ready to break his putter into 19 pieces. But for the second time in three holes, Thorpe converted the birdie putt to momentarily tie for the top spot.
Watson, with impure putting thoughts of his own, promptly stepped up and reclaimed sole possession of the lead by drilling his 12-footer.
After successfully finding the fairway off the tee on the par-5 17th, Thorpe, a gambler by nature, went for the green.
Thorpe took driver off the deck and double-crossed himself. His ball made a beeline for the trees.
Fortunately for Thorpe, his ball stayed in bounds. He pitched out into the fairway and then spun his fourth shot to within 10 feet of the hole.
Needing a reprieve from his putter, the flatstick responded positively. Thorpe sunk the par save and entered the final hole trailing Watson by one.
At the par-4 18th, Thorpe again took the aggressive route. He blasted his tee shot over the right trees. His ball clipped a limb coming down, but still found the fairway ' 293 yards from the tee box.
Just 134 yards from the hole, Thorpe spun a short iron to eight feet.
After watching Watson successfully two-putt for par, Thorpe had one last chance to force a playoff. But this time his putter didnt oblige.
Thorpe missed on the low side.
I didnt make enough putts to win, said Thorpe. I played well enough tee to green, hit a lot of good shots. I just didnt make the putts.
The 62nd PGA Championship began with nostalgia - Arnold Palmer shot his age, 71, in the first round, while Jack Nicklaus was just one shot off the 18-hole lead.
Watson furthered the feeling by birdieing his final five holes in the third round for a tournament best 66.
And for once, for Watson, nostalgia proved to be more than just a yearning for an irrecoverable past.
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