Romero Tops Allem Koch in NY

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Champions TourENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Joey Sindelar bent over his ball in the rough at the final hole of the Dicks Sporting Goods Open, pondering his ensuing shot and what might have been.
 
This doesnt seem like the perfect ending, Sindelar muttered.
 
It was for Eduardo Romero of Argentina, who overcame his own shaky end and beat Fulton Allem (69) and Gary Koch (65) by one shot Sunday for his second Champions Tour victory. He also won the 2006 Tradition.
 
Romero shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 17-under 199, equaling the score recorded by R.W. Eaks a year ago in the inaugural event.
 
Sindelar was at 16 under entering the final hole, but his tee shot sailed into the right trees and he made double bogey to finish fourth at 14-under 202, his fourth top-5 in nine events since turning 50 in March and joining the Champions Tour.
 
Bruce Vaughan (69), runner-up last year, finished at 13 under, tied for fifth with first-round leader Joe Ozaki (70).
 
Romero, who began the day with a one-shot lead over Sindelar and Allem, played the front nine over the narrow, tree-lined En-Joie Golf Club course in 2 under and only had to contend with his playing partners despite a strong showing by Koch.
 
Allem had three birdies and a bogey on the front nine to keep pace, while Sindelar managed two birdies as Romero made the turn still leading by one shot.
 
Romero hit his second shot at the par-4 10th hole to 5 feet and made birdie to reach 17 under. Allem matched Romero after hitting to 8 inches from 119 yards while Sindelar missed a 10-foot putt for birdie to fall into third.
 
Allem, who constantly copes with a bad back that forces him to use a cart on some holes, had to feel a tinge of mental pain at the par-4 11th hole after his second shot landed in the primary rough and he was unable to get up and down. Sindelar, too, was frustrated, staring skyward when his 10-foot birdie putt stopped at the lip.
 
Romero made a nice recovery at the par-5 12th after his second shot landed in the rough behind the green, pitching to 3 feet and making birdie. Allem also birdied to remain two shots behind.
 
Sindelar, who won the PGA Tours B.C. Open in 1985 and 1987 at En-Joie, finally broke through at the par-4 13th with his first birdie in five holes, hitting to 6 feet and making the putt to tie Allem at 16 under.
 
Romero, who had no bogeys and only one double bogey over the first 49 holes, suddenly gave Sindelar and Allem new life at the par-3 14th. Romero drove a greenside bunker and lipped out a 4-foot par putt as his lead dwindled to one.
 
After all three parred the tough 15th hole, Romero and Sindelar became just the fourth and fifth players this week to drive the green at the 299-yard, par-4 16th, setting up eagle tries for both. Sindelar was closest, but his 18-foot putt stopped 3 feet short and he settled for birdie. Romero, lying 64 feet away, made a nice downhill putt that broke right and stopped short, then drained a 6-foot birdie to remain on top.
 
At the par-3 17th, Sindelar drove the left rough 43 feet from the pin, pitched 12 feet past and lipped out the par putt to fall two shots back. Allem sqandered a chance to gain a stroke when he pulled a 9-foot birdie try left, seemingly giving Romero an insurmountable edge with one hole to play.
 
Drama quickly returned when Romero missed his 4-foot putt for par.
 
The drama didnt last long. After Sindelar drove the right trees at 18, his second shot ricocheted off a branch and over a wall and his chances were finished.
 
Romero quickly took advantage. After hitting a booming drive down the middle, he put his second shot to 6 feet and two-putted for par to hang on after Allem missed a long birdie putt.
 
Koch, who had seven birdies and no bogeys, missed a 7-foot birdie putt at 17 that, as it turned out, cost him a shot at a playoff.
 
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