Monday, February 23, 2009

NAPLES, Fla.(AP) Loren Roberts thrust both arms toward the sky, and let out some emotion. He knew he earned his ninth career victory on the Champions Tour.

Roberts made a 3-foot birdie putt on the last hole to win The ACE Group Classic on Sunday, beating Gene Jones by one stroke.

Roberts shot a 68 to finish at 7-under 209. Jones, who led by a shot coming into the final round, put up a 70.

It was Roberts' second win in four years at Naples. He joined Lee Trevino (1990-91), Mike Hill (1993-94), Hale Irwin (1997, 2002) and Gil Morgan (1998, 2001) as two-time champions.

Roberts won $240,000 out of the $1.6 million purse. It was his fifth professional win in Florida.

It was the 12th time in the tournament's 22-year history that it had been decided by either a playoff or one stroke. It was also the 12th time that the winner came from behind.

Roberts and Jones were tied going into the final hole.

Jones hit his approach to 12 feet, then Roberts knocked a pitching wedge from 102 yards to 3 feet. Jones, seeking his first win on the Champions Tour, had his birdie putt just go past the left edge.

The birdie was Roberts' third in his last four holes.

``I felt like I went out and won it, birdieing the last three out of four,'' he said. ``A lot of emotion with that happening because sometimes you win because you get help from somebody else or whatever. I felt like I went out and won the golf tournament. That's what gave me some emotion. I had to let out some emotion there.''

Roberts made birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 - hitting a 2-iron to 1 1/2 feet on that one - to get back in the tournament.

Six players held or shared the lead during the final round, and Jones, a mini-tour veteran, had it until a bogey on No. 14.

``I had my opportunity, and Loren came through like you have to expect the guy to come through,'' Jones said. ``That's what he's good at: winning. So I learned a lot today.''

James Mason (70), Don Pooley (70), Ben Crenshaw (68) and Bernhard Langer (69) tied for third at 5-under.

Crenshaw had the lead after 12 holes, but bogeyed No. 13, and missed a 12-footer for birdie on the final hole. Crenshaw hasn't won a tour event since the 1995 Masters.

Pooley grabbed the lead with a birdie on No. 12, but gave it right back with a double-bogey on the next hole.

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