Roberts edges O'Meara to win Boeing
SNOQUALMIE, Wash.(AP) Walking up the 18th hole, Mark O'Meara couldn't avoid the giant video board replaying Loren Roberts' tee shot on the 17th, his ball bouncing into the fringe behind the hole, somehow wiggling from the longer grass to gently slide 5 feet from the cup.
For the eighth time since joining the Champions Tour, O'Meara was stuck settling for second place.
Roberts made the short birdie putt on 17 to draw even with O'Meara, then sank a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th to steal the Boeing Classic title Sunday and keep O'Meara winless on the Champions Tour.
Roberts finished at 18 under, thanks to a final-round 65 and a fortuitous bounce on 17 when the ball came out of the fringe and trickled its way toward the hole.
``I saw it get a foot up into the fringe. It just goes to show you, and I've said it when I've won, 'Hey, it was my day. I got lucky.' There is a lot of skill involved but it's all a matter of getting the right break at the right time,'' O'Meara said. ``Who knows, maybe that ball could have stayed up there. But it doesn't work that way and he's got the trophy.''
Roberts won for the third time this season, adding to victories at the ACE Group Classic and the Senior British Open last month.
O'Meara led by a shot until an untimely bogey on the short, par-4 16th when his second shot bounced on the lip of a bunker short of the green and fell back into the sand. O'Meara rebounded with a birdie on the 17th, but could only manage a par on the par-5 18th when his tee shot found a fairway bunker.
Roberts took advantage. He nearly matched O'Meara's sterling tee shot at 17, a shot that Roberts had been dreading all week. With water fronting the green the pin was placed in the back left corner. Roberts, who struggles with right-to-left shots, got his 5-iron to turn over just enough to catch a ridge separating the green.
But he didn't see the ball hop into the fringe and pop free.
``That's a tough pin for me to get at,'' Roberts said. ``I put probably the best swing of the tournament for me. ... For me to get into position was to make the birdie at 17. I'd been thinking about that hole all week.''
Roberts then birdied the final hole with three solid shots. From 50 yards out Roberts used a wedge and hit a low skip shot that landed on the fringe, checked up and rolled just a few feet from the cup. O'Meara was on the driving range prepping for a potential playoff when Roberts dropped his winning putt.
``I'm not going to say second is terrible because it's not terrible,'' O'Meara said. ``But when you've come close as I have and not break through yet, and today could have been a great breakthrough day for me. Unfortunately I'll have to wait until next week.''
Dan Forsman and Bernhard Langer finished tied for third place at 14 under. Hal Sutton made a huge charge, shooting a tournament-low round of 63 including an eagle on the final hole. Sutton finished at 12 under and in fifth place.
Second-round co-leader Mark McNulty stumbled at the start with a four-putt from about 40 feet after reaching the par-5 first in two shots. McNulty shot a 3-over 75 and finished in eighth place at 8 under.
Separated by one group, Roberts and O'Meara turned the final round into a two-man match of O'Meara dropping birdies and Roberts matching.
O'Meara made nine birdies, including five on the back nine, with his only blemish coming at the 16th, part of an 8-under 64. But he still hasn't won a PGA Tour sanctioned event since the 1998 British Open.
O'Meara made birdies at Nos. 6, 7, 8, then spun a fairway bunker shot to 6 feet for a birdie at No. 10. He hit another stellar bunker shot at the 12th to about 4 feet and another at the 210-yard par-3 13th, pushed O'Meara to 16 under.
But Roberts answered each charge, thanks to a putter that saw Roberts make just one bogey Sunday - one of only two bogeys the entire tournament.
Roberts birdied Nos. 7 and 8, then saw his birdie putt on 10 do a 360 around the hole and drop to get to 14 under. He pulled even with O'Meara at 15 under with a birdie on the 12th and added another at the 13th, from the fringe, to reach 16 under.
Roberts hit just 23 putts in his round and nine on the closing nine holes. He also closed the gap with leader Fred Funk in the Charles Schwab Cup points race. Roberts now trails by 86 points.
``No question I holed some putts there on the back nine,'' Roberts said. ``I made some putts today, believe me.''