CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Robert Thompson shot a 2-under 70 on Friday to win the Champions Tour qualifying tournament, rallying on the back nine in the final round to finish one stroke better than third-round leader John Morse.
Thompson was one back of Morse entering the final round and two behind at the turn. But he birdied Nos. 11, 15 and 16 and went in front for good when Morse bogeyed No. 17 at TPC Eagle Trace.
“There are some difficult holes on this course and I just tried to keep it in good places,” the 51-year-old Thompson said. “Some of those water holes are tough and I think I just hit it into the water once all week. It was a good week and I was pleased with how I played.”
Thompson (7-under 281), Morse (282), Tom McKnight (285), James Mason (286) and Steve Thomas (286) all will receive full-exempt status for the 2009 season. Thompson made just two starts last season on the Champions Tour, tying for fourth at the Turtle Bay Championship and 59th at the Senior PGA Championship.
Mason, Thomas and Ronnie Black all finished at 2 under for the tournament. Mason made a par on the second playoff hole and Thomas birdied the third to take the final full-exempt spot.
The next seven players after the top five are conditionally exempt for next season. In addition, the top 30 finishers and ties from the qualifying tournament are eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events.