PALM COAST, Fla.(AP) Keith Fergus managed to hold on for a Champions Tour victory and a piece of golf history.
Fergus bogeyed two of his last three holes at the Ocean Club at Hammock Beach on Sunday to edge Mark O’Meara and Hale Irwin by a stroke in the Ginn Championship and become the second player to win on the PGA, Nationwide and Champions tours. (Go to leaderboard)
Fergus earned $375,000, his largest career winner’s check, for his first Champions Tour title. He won three times on the PGA Tour from 1981-83 and twice on the Nationwide Tour in 1994. Ron Streck also has won on all three of the major U.S pro men’s tours.
“I had that choke factor going in,” Fergus said. “But I was after that trophy. It’s why we work and leave our families, for moments like this. And there aren’t enough of them – unless you’re Tiger Woods.”
Playing the difficult par-4 18th hole for a safe bogey, Fergus closed with a 2-under 70 for a 12-under 204 total.
O’Meara (69), a Champions Tour rookie, had his best finish since turning 50. Irwin (68) bogeyed No. 18 in the group before Fergus to lose a chance to force a playoff. Irwin bogeyed the last three holes during Saturday’s second round.
Tom Purtzer (71), Brad Bryant (71) and Gil Morgan (69) tied for fourth at 10 under.
“It’s great when good guys win,” Bryant said.
Fergus never lost a share of first despite several stumbles.
He hit his tee shot into the water at the par-3 fourth hole, then chipped in for par. He made his first bogey of the week after 40 consecutive holes of par or better when he hit his tee shot into the water at the par-4 fifth.
Fergus recovered when he birdied the par-5 sixth, and he eagled the par-5 10th when he blasted into the hole from a greenside bunker. After a two-putt birdie at the par-5 14th hole, Fergus took a two-shot lead at 14 under.
However, he bogeyed the par-4 16th hole after hitting his tee shot into high grass on the right, and survived a scare at the par-3 17th hole, when he was able to coax a 7-foot par attempt into the hole.
By that point, his challengers had melted away and he came to the par-4 18th hole with a two-shot lead. Fergus blocked his tee shot to the right and into a waste bunker, received line-of-sight relief from a hospitality tent, but still had to punch his second shot out into the fairway. Fergus hit his third shot within 13 feet of the hole and two-putted for the victory