ROCCO MEDIATE has made an immediate impression on the US Champions Tour, winning his first ever start.
The newly turned 50 year old has become the 16th player to win on Champions Tour debut, joining the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
“I don’t belong with those guys,” the live-wire Mediate said after winning the 2013 Allianz Championship in Florida by two strokes from Tom Pernice Jnr and Bernhardt Langer.
Mediate had begun the day at the Old Course at Broken Sound, in Boca Raton, with a three stroke lead but was back in a tie with Pernice after bogeying the 14th.
“That made me really mad,” he said later. “It was like, ‘Game on.’”
Mediate fought off challenges from Pernice (70) and Langer (68) and made a clutch birdie putt on the last to seal his victory. He finished with a 71 for a tournament 17-under.
“I’m ecstatic,” Mediate said, but whether the victories can continue is another matter. Others have won first up on the Champions Tour never to grace the winning podium again.
“I really feel like I can do some cool things here,” he said. “That’s the plan. I’m going to put the work in, that’s for sure.”
Mediate has five US PGA Tour wins to his credit but is probably more famous for his runner-up finish to Tiger Woods in the memorable playoff for the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
In his 2013 Champions Tour debut, Australia’s Peter Senior finished with rounds of 69,69 & 71. He finished tied for 13th on 7-under.
Playing his first full-field Champions Tour event, fellow Aussie Steve Elkington probably won’t be delighted with his 71, 74 & 71. He finished on even tied for 47th.Champions Tour: 2013 Allianz Championship Final Leadrboard