HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) – Kenny Perry made nine birdies and led the Champions Tour to the title at the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge on Tuesday.
The Champions Tour team, made up of Perry, Jay Haas and Mark Calcavecchia, were a combined 15 under in the two-player, best-ball format that allowed each team to discard one score per hole.
The group shot 8 under over the final nine holes to overtake the PGA Tour team of Boo Weekley, Gary Woodland and Jonathan Byrd, which finished at 12 under at the par-72 Rio Secco Golf Club (par 72).
Overall, the Champions Tour trio had 17 birdies.
“My teammates made birdies,” Perry said. “(I had) four on the front and five on the back, so I was pretty steady all day.”
Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis of the LPGA Tour also topped the PGA Tour threesome by going 14 under.
The defending champion PGA held a 3-stroke edge over the Champions Tour, and a 5-stroke lead over the LPGA Tour after nine holes, largely due to eagles on the par-5, 516-yard eighth hole by Weekley and Woodland. Byrd also shot a 5-under 31 over the first nine holes.
Kerr keyed the LPGA attack by going 5 under over the final five holes. She eagled the 14th, birdied the 15th, parred the 16th and birdied the 17th and 18th holes. She had six birdies and eagled the par-5, 505-yard 14th.
“We were pretty far back,” Kerr said. “In this tournament you’ve got to stay a little bit close with the last couple holes. I knew I had to just really turn it on as much as I could and try and make up shots. I had a great finish, and we still came up short. But we ended up finishing second instead of third (their 2010 finish).
“I birdied that (14th) hole before, but I never made eagle on that hole. So that was a good improvement.”
Perry birdied four holes on the front nine and five on the back nine to go along with one bogey. He helped his team grab a 2-stroke lead over the PGA and LPGA after 16 holes by carding birdies on four consecutive holes – the 11th through the 14th.
“We were three behind after nine,” Perry said. “I didn’t see us in the lead until about over here (18th hole). I was on the par 3 (16th), I thought we were tied or one up. It took us 14 or 15 holes to even catch back up.”
Perry was the individual winner with an 8-under 64 (32-32). Last year, he tied the PGA’s Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson for low individual honors at 4-under 68.
The Champions team received $500,000, the second-place LPGA squad earned $270,000, and the third-place PGA team got $230,000. It was the seventh win for the Champions Tour in the 20 years the event has been held. The PGA Tour has eight titles, and the LPGA has five.
The Challenge raised over $4 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. It has accumulated just over $40 million in its 20 years.