Roberts shoots course-record 61 to win MasterCard
KAUPULEHU, Hawaii -- Loren Roberts made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a course-record 11-under 61 and a one-stroke victory over Don Pooley on Sunday in the Champions Tour's season-opening MasterCard Championship.
The 50-year-old Roberts -- called the "Boss of the Moss" because of his brilliant putting touch -- had a 25-under 191 total on the Hualalai course to shatter the Champions Tour record for relation to par in a 54-hole event and tie the stroke mark. He also broke the tour record for birdies in a three-round tournament with 26.
Roberts and Pooley (25) both broke the previous record for birdies in a 54-hole hole event of 24, set by Raymond Floyd (1994) and matched by Hale Irwin (1995), Dougherty (2001) and Gil Morgan earlier Sunday. Roberts' 11-under 61 broke the course record of 62 that Morgan set about a half-hour before Roberts finished.
Roberts capped the lowest round of his pro career with the long putt on No. 18.
"It was nice that it went in," Roberts said. "Realistically, when I hit it, I was thinking about getting it down there. I just wanted to get it around the hole. It went in a little faster than I wanted it to. But it went in and it went in pretty hard."
Pooley, who began the round with a three-stroke lead over Roberts, made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a 65. Jay Haas and D.A. Weibring shot 63s to tie for third at 22 under, and Morgan and Tom Watson (64) tied for fifth at 20 under.
"I knew the course could give up a round like Loren had, but where the pins were, I didn't think today would be the day to shoot the lowest score," Pooley said.
"Loren played great. I shot a 65 with a three-shot lead and normally that would be good enough. I'm disappointed, obviously, but there are a lot of positives I can take from this event. I played well."
Roberts, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, won for the second time in seven career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He won The Tradition last August in Oregon for his first senior victory and first major victory.
Roberts, who earned $290,000, had nine birdies and an eagle Sunday. He played the back nine in 7-under 29, eagling the par-5 10th and birdieing Nos. 12-14, 16 and 18.
"This is a great two weeks to start the season," said Roberts who tied for 18th last week in the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii.
"The key for me was the birdie on nine, a hole I hadn't played that well, and then the chip-in for eagle at the 10th. I feel really good about the way I'm playing."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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