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Huston holds off Wiebe for Dick's victory

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ENDICOTT, N.Y. – John Huston shot a 7-under 65 to win his first Champions Tour event Sunday, taking advantage of three straight bogeys by Mark Wiebe to capture the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Huston finished at 16-under 200 in his third Champions Tour start since turning 50 on June 1, earning a three-shot victory over Nick Price, who had a 66. Wiebe was another shot back after a 71.

Wiebe won two weeks ago at Rock Barn and began the day with a two-shot lead over Huston, but his string of bogey-free holes stopped at 75 when he bogeyed Nos. 12-14 to drop out of the lead.

Wiebe rallied with two straight birdies and almost had another at 17.

Huston also birdied No. 16 and sealed the victory after hitting his tee shot at the par-3 17th to within a foot of the pin.

An errant drive at the par-4 closing hole brought a smile to Huston’s face after it bounced just past the water hazard that lines the left side of the fairway and left him with a nice lie.

Local favorite Joey Sindelar (68) finished at 11 under tied with Jim Gallagher Jr. (65). Peter Senior (67), Ted Schulz (68), Jay Don Blake (70) and Peter Jacobsen (68) finished at 10 under and tied for sixth.

The bogey at 12, statistically the easiest hole at the short, tree-lined En-Joie Golf Club course, was devastating for Wiebe.

Huston birdied two of the three holes that Wiebe bogeyed to vault from a two-shot deficit to a two-shot lead over the hard-charging Price, who closed to within one with a short birdie putt at the difficult 15th.

Huston nearly gave it away when his drive at 15 sailed right next to a cart path. But he saved par with a long two putt after his second shot barely made the green, coming perilously close to the massive water hazard that guards the hole.

Seconds later, Wiebe sank a 30-foot birdie putt that broke 4 feet on its way to the hole and continued a late rally with a 12-foot birdie at the par-4 16th hole. Huston, who caught a break at 16 when his drive hit a spectator standing next to the green, responded with a 5-foot birdie to hold his two-shot lead.

Sindelar, who won twice at En-Joie in the 1980s when it played host to the old B.C. Open on the PGA Tour, missed a terrific chance to move closer to the lead. He hit his second shot inside 5 feet at 16 but pulled his birdie try just right.

Somebody had to go real low to have a chance to overtake Wiebe, who took a stretch of 64 holes without a bogey into the round, and Jim Rutledge quickly showed the course would be very giving on a calm, overcast day. Rutledge reeled off five birdies on his first five holes to reach 9 under before Wiebe even teed off.

Wiebe leads the Champions Tour in putting average, but he didn’t work any magic with it on the front nine where he had just one birdie – a putt inside 2 feet at No. 2 – as he tried to protect his two-shot lead.

Huston consistently outdrove the 53-year-old Wiebe, and Huston’s aggressiveness paid off with four birdies on the front side, including two at the three par-5s. He hit his second shot at the 553-yard eighth hole to the back fringe of the green, watched his eagle chip stop well short of the hole but still made birdie.

That offset a bad bogey at the par-3 seventh hole, when Huston three-putted from the far right corner, and he tied Wiebe at 12 under with a 9-foot birdie putt at No. 9.

The final threesome made the turn with Senior, Jacobsen, Sindelar, and Price lurking just one shot behind.

Unfazed, Wiebe rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 10 and a 12-foot birdie at the 11th hole to regain that two-shot cushion over Huston, then gave it right back at 12. Huston then rolled in a 3-foot birdie putt to tie Wiebe at 13 under.

Price also birdied No. 12 to extend his birdie streak to four and move within a shot of the lead, and Sindelar missed a chance to tie for the lead when his eagle putt at the hole lipped out.

Rutledge stayed within striking distance until a bogey at No. 14 and a double bogey at the difficult par-4 15th hole dropped him to 6 under.

Back surgery limited Jacobsen to only 14 events last year, rotator cuff surgery on his left shoulder in 2009 relegated him to a spectator until June, and the previous year he had his right knee replaced. Still, he found some of that old magic on Sunday, making six birdies for his first top 10 since 2007 at Pebble Beach.