IN the end America’s Michael Allen won the US Champion Tour’s 2012 Encompass Insurance Pro-Am quite comfortably today but once again Australia’s Peter Senior was well in contention during the final round.
Allen began the day with a tour record equalling five shot lead but dropped a few shots early to bring a clutch of other golfers into play.
“There was a little flutter of hope when he dropped a couple early, but he put that to rest pretty quick,” Senior said.
Allen fought back to close with a 3-under 68 for a three stroke victory over Kenny Penny (65) alone in second place on 9-under while Senior (67) was outright third on 7-under.
“It’s been a long time since I beat these guys,” Allen said. “I haven’t beat them very often. It’s very nice to get on 18 and finally go, ‘man, I got them all.'”
Allen won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship but hadn’t cracked it in 40 Champions Tour events since.
“To be honest, I’ve played a lot of really good golf out here and I knew it was going to come again soon,” Allen said.
He finished at 12-under after tying the tournament record for the largest 36-hole margin.
“I’ve never had a five-shot lead,” Allen said. “Fuzzy (Zoeller) told me to play like I was broke, so I tried to do that. You never quite know what you really have to do until it’s over.”
Allen bogeyed Nos. 3 and 4 at TPC Tampa Bay to cut his lead to one, but rebounded with birdies on two of the next three holes. He extended his advantage to four shots with birdies on 12 and 14.
While Allen has had four top-three finishes in six events this year it was Senior’s third top 10 in five starts.
The 52 year old Australian earned US$115,000 for his placing today and moved to outright 5th on the season long Charles Schwab Cup points table.
The US Champions Tour moves to Georgia this week for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf tournament at the Savannah Harbor Golf Resort.
2012 Encompass Insurance Pro-Am Final Leaderboard2012 Encompass Insurance Pro-Am Final Leaderboard