Aussie Davis earns first Champions Tour title

Updated: March 24, 2003, 12:16 AM ET
Associated Press

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Australian Rodger Davis shot a 3-under-par 68 to win the Toshiba Senior Classic by four strokes Sunday, his first victory in the United States.

Rodger Davis
Rodger Davis earned his first Champions Tour victory in his 42nd tournament.

In his 42nd appearance on the Champions Tour, Davis finished at 16-under 197, making good on his prediction that it would take at least 15 under to win.

''You can't believe how happy I am,'' said Davis, who takes home the first prize of $232,000. ''I had a couple of chances last year, but I think I was trying too hard. You just have to let it happen.

''The great part happened this morning,'' Davis added. ''I would have to say at least 25 guys came up to me this morning and said, 'Keep it going, Rodger,' and that meant a lot.''

Larry Nelson closed with a 4-under 67 to finish second at 12-under 201. He had four birdies in his first seven holes, but he slipped back with a bogey at No. 8.

''I think a lot people thought they might be able to catch Rodger,'' Nelson said. ''I thought I needed a 64 or 65 to have a chance, but that wouldn't have been enough. I would have needed a 63 just to tie. Too tough.''

Defending champion Hale Irwin finished in a three-way tie for third with John Jacobs and Jose Maria Canizares. Jacobs fired a 69 Sunday, as did Irwin, and Canizares had a 70, but they were unable to sustain a charge at Davis.

Davis' victory came just a couple weeks after he and five other golfers were robbed at gunpoint at a Mexican restaurant on March 7, following the first round of the MasterCard Classic in Mexico City.

Andy Bean made his first Champions tournament appearance at this tournament after turning 50 on March 13. He finished with a three-day total of 207, 6 under par. Bean led the tournament in driving from the tee with a 307.8-yard average.

Newport Beach Country Club covers 6,571 yards with a par of 71 and is located about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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