BOCA RATON, Fla. – Corey Pavin can’t remember a better par save.
Pavin rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Peter Senior and win the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound Golf Club. But the shot everyone will remember is the 8-iron Pavin turned around and hit left-handed on the par-3 14th hole when he was tied for the lead with Mark Calcavecchia.
Pavin had no option because there was a tree root to the left of the ball. The chip rolled to 5 feet and Pavin made the crucial putt.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime shot,” Pavin said. “I can’t think of a better up-and-down I’ve had in my career. It’s not like I practice turning 8-irons over and hit them left-handed. When that happens, you think you’re going to win, but I had to get that thought out of my head.”
Pavin and Senior both shot a final-round 71 to finish tied at 11-under 205. Senior forced the playoff with a birdie on the final hole of regulation, but his birdie try in the playoff stopped an inch short of the cup.
“I putted awful all day,” Senior said. “I was happy to make the last one to get into the playoff, but I don’t think I’ve ever left so many putts short in my life.”
Calcavecchia appeared to be cruising to victory when he birdied the par-5 11th hole to take a three-shot lead over Pavin. But Calcavecchia, who was 5 under for the day at that point, bogeyed six of his last seven holes to finish tied for seventh after a 73.
“I felt pretty good (after No. 11), I’ll tell you that,” Calcavecchia said. “But I three-putted 12, got a bad break at 13 and when I hit it over the green on 15, it pretty much did me in.”
On his unlikely chip, Pavin said he was just hoping to get the ball up the hill near the green, so he could at least make a bogey. Calcavecchia believed he was going to be leading by himself again.
“It was a one-in-a-million shot, but he pulled it off,” Calcavecchia said. “Of course, it was one in a million I’m going to bogey six of the last seven. That’s the way it goes.”
Pavin hadn’t won a tournament in more than 5 1/2 years, dating to the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship of Milwaukee, a stretch of 122 tournaments. This was his 35th start on the Champions Tour.
“It’s been a long time,” he said. “But I’m always more comfortable trying to win a tournament than trying to finish fifth or sixth.”
Defending champion Tom Lehman (71) finished tied for 31st.