SAN FRANCISCO – John Cook successfully defended his title in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday at Harding Park, while Bernhard Langer took his first season points title.
Cook shot 4-under 67 in steady drizzle after rain delayed the start of play, holing a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole to beat Michael Allen by two strokes.
Cook began the day a shot behind Allen, but birdied two of the first three holes to take the lead for good. Cook finished at 17 under and earned $440,000 for his fifth career victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Allen, who grew up in the Bay Area, shot a 70 in the rainy, windy conditions that hampered his tee shots and forced the 2009 Senior PGA Championship winner to scramble most of the day.
Langer (69) tied for third with David Frost (71) at 12 under to wrap up the Schwab Cup points race and $1 million annuity. Fred Couples, the only player in position to catch Langer entering the tournament, closed with a 67 to tie for 10th at 9 under.
Cook won the event by five strokes in 2009 at the Sonoma Golf Club and led each of the first two rounds this year before Allen’s record-setting 10-under 61 on Saturday turned it into a two-man race.
It quickly turned into a survival test in the difficult conditions. All week, players have been allowed to lift, clean and place their golf ball because of issues on some fairways.
Cook was steady off the tee and made only one mistake when he bogeyed No. 5, a 429-yard par 4.
Cook won for the first time since his record-setting performance at Sonoma, and also had his ninth straight round in the 60s. The turning point came on the par-5 10th.
Allen, who had bogeys on Nos. 4 and 6, birdied No. 9, then sank a 30-foot putt for birdie on the next hole to get to 15 under and a temporary tie for first. Cook responded with his own birdie from 10 feet above the hole, hanging onto the lead and silencing the pro-Allen crowd.
Cook, who had only two bogeys the entire tournament, added another birdie on No. 16, while Allen could do no better than par. Allen made par saves out of the sand on Nos. 11 and 17 and had a chance at forcing a playoff on the final hole before Cook’s clinching putt.
Langer made a brief run with a birdie on No. 9 to get to 12 under, but parred out the rest of the way. A five-time winner on tour this season, the German star is all but certain to win his third consecutive Jack Nicklaus Trophy as the tour’s player of the year.