AMERICAN Russ Cochran has won the first Champions Tour event to be held in Asia whilst Australia’s Peter Senior posted three birdies on his back nine to further cement his standing on the US based over 50’s circuit in his rookie season.
The 51 year old left handed Cochran sunk a birdie putt on the first play-off hole to defeat fellow countryman Fred Funk in an event that carried one of the richest purses in the history of the regular Champions Tour.
Cochran shot a final round 66 to finish at 12 under and force a play-off at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in the inaugural Songdo Championship in South Korea.
He collected a record US$456,000 for his trouble, an amount that nearly doubles his previous biggest cheque in golf which came when finishing runner up in the Charles Schwab Cup in his rookie season on the Champions Tour in 2009.
Cochran won just one event during his lengthy career on the PGA Tour, the 1991 Western Open, and was also out of golf for six years with wrist and elbow problems that required surgery.
“I’m back playing and my game’s a little bit different, but it’s pretty solid,” he said. “I’m hoping I can take this and go (on) to more victories on the Champions Tour.”
Funk began the day with a two-stroke lead but missed a two-foot birdie putt on the par five 18th that would have seen him back up his major title win at the JELD-WEN Tradition just three weeks ago.
Senior fights back
Peter Senior fought back from his one over par 73 in the first round with a 69 in the second but things started going awry when he double bogeyed the par five third on the final day.
He hit back with an immediate birdie on the 4th but then bogeyed again on the 5th and 8th. A birdie on the par five 7th and his blemish free three under on his back nine saw him finish at T18 with another solid pay cheque of around US$35,000.
That takes his season’s earnings to around US$665,000 and with just five full-field events left on the 2010 Champions Tour Order of Merit, Senior remains in 17th position.
Graham Marsh, the only other Australian in the field, fired a final round one-under 71 to finish T48.