Levi Breaks Through for Win No 1


MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Wayne Levi birdied the 72nd hole Sunday to break a logjam atop the leaderboard and win the 3M Championship by one stroke. Levi, who picked up his first Champions Tour title, finished the event at 11-under-par 205.
Morris Hatalsky and Gil Morgan each shot rounds of 4-under 68 to finish in a tie for second place at 10-under-par 206. Ben Crenshaw posted his best finish on the Champions Tour ending at 9-under-par 207. He was joined there by Graham Marsh and Bob Murphy.
Levi entered the final round at the TPC of the Twin Cities tied for second and playing in the next to last group. He rolled home a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-5 third and followed that with a chip-in birdie at the next.
After a string of pars, Levi dropped a shot at the par-4 ninth. He recovered that stroke around the turn with a birdie at the 11th.
He again stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 14th after his second shot found a greenside bunker. The 12-time winner on the PGA Tour responded with a birdie at the 16th. This moved him to 10 under and into a tie for the lead with three other golfers.
Levi calmly sank a four-foot birdie on the 18th hole for a round of 69. When no one else could birdie the last to tie him, the crown was Levi's.
'It took me longer than I figured it would to win again,' said Levi, who becomes the 20th winner in 21 Champions Tour events this season and picks up $262,500 for the win. 'I never doubted that I would. It's just a matter of time.'
Morgan, playing with Levi, could only manage a par on the final hole. He had opened with back-to-back birdies from the first and also birdied the sixth and 12th to move to minus-10. However, he could only par out.
'I couldn't make any birdies down the stretch,' said Morgan. 'I had several good putts on the back nine, but they just wouldn't go in.'
Hatalsky had problems on the back nine, but still had a chance to force a playoff. He notched four birdies on the front nine to move to 10 under.
However, he began the back nine with a double bogey at the 10th. He climbed back to 10 under with birdies at the 11th and 12th. Hatalsky again dropped a shot when he bogeyed the 14th but moved back to 10 under with a birdie at the 16th. He only managed to par the final two holes for a second place finish.
Crenshaw, whose last win came at the 1995 Masters, had taken the lead at 12 under but struggled down the stretch. He bogeyed the par-5 12th to drop into a share of the lead.
His problems continued as he double bogeyed the par-4 14th, which he had triple bogeyed on Saturday. He recovered one stroke with a birdie at the 15th to move back into a share of the lead, but he bogeyed the 16th to fall into a tie for fourth.
'I just had to execute on 14,' Crenshaw said. 'Its been a while since I had that feeling inside.'
Des Smyth vaulted up the leaderboard with a final-round, 6-under 66. He finished in a tie for seventh at 8-under-par 208 alongside Eamonn Darcy and Bill Rogers.
Don Pooley and overnight leader Tom Purtzer each had a chance to win, but late struggles cost them. Pooley bogeyed two of his last three holes, while Purtzer quadruple bogeyed the 17th to fall off the pace. They shared 10th place with Hugh Baiocchi, Dana Quigley, Jim Thorpe and D.A. Weibring at 7-under-par 209.
Hale Irwin, the 2002 champion, managed a 1-under 71 Sunday to finish the tournament at 2-under-par 214, in a tie for 40th.
Related Links:
  • TheGolfChannel.com Bio - Wayne Levi
  • Full Coverage - 3M Championship
  • 3M Championship Leaderboard