WILLIE WOOD scored one for all the golfing battlers out there today with a playoff victory in the latest US Champions Tour event.
The 51 year old Texan hasn’t had a tour win since his lone victory in 1996 and had to go through Monday qualifying just to get into the 2012 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in New York.
He holed a 35 foot birdie putt on the final hole in regulation to force a playoff then beat the much more fancied Michael Allen on the first extra hole.
Wood not only gets a big fat cheque (US$270,000) but the exemptions and other benefits of winning his first Champions Tour title will change his world.
“It was quite exciting,” Wood said. “I hung in there, hung in there, and things turned out great.”
Throughout the last 16 years Woods has toiled on the Web.com Tour mostly against players half his age.
He had his one and only win on the PGA Tour at the 1996 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.
“I knew that when I turned 50, I would have a new challenge ahead of me,” Wood said.
Afterwards an emotional Wood was letting it all sink in, including the fact there will be no more Monday qualifying battles for the foreseeable future.
Woods closed with a 68 to match clubhouse leader Allen (66) on 13 under.
Putting guru Brad Faxon had led for much of the final round but seemed to seize up somewhat over the final holes. He finished with a 71 to equal, Kenny Perry (67), Tom Lehman (67) and Joey Sindelar (66) tied for second on 12-under.
Australia’s Peter Senior was again in contention throughout and finished just two strokes behind the leaders tied for 7th.
Senior had opening rounds of 68 & 67 but in the end needed more than his final round 2-under 70.
He finished in the exalted company of Bernhard Langer (67), Mark Calcavecchia (67), John Cook (67) and Mark O’Meara (68).Dick’s Sporting Goods Open Final Results