Morgan rallies from two down to win Allianz

Updated: June 4, 2006, 9:44 PM ET
Associated Press

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- It took Gil Morgan just one week to turn his crushing final round in the Senior PGA Tournament into a distant memory.

The 59-year-old Morgan rallied from two strokes down on the final two holes to win the Allianz Championship by one shot Sunday, a week after blowing a final-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship on his home course.

The win was Morgan's first since the 2004 SBC Classic and the 24th of his Champions Tour career, tying him with Miller Barber for third place on the 50-and-over tour.

"It's just nice to be able to come back and get a win," Morgan said. "I haven't won in a long time, so that got me back into the sync of at least having a winning year. As old as I'm getting, those are hard to find."

Loren Roberts, who had led by as many as three shots on the back nine, hooked his second shot on 17 into the water after his tee shot landed behind a tree. Morgan grabbed a share of the lead by sinking a 34-foot birdie putt, and Roberts fell back into second by missing a 5-foot bogey putt.

Morgan missed a birdie putt on 18 that would have sealed the win. But the 50-year-old Roberts, a three-time winner this year, blew his chance to force a playoff by missing a 9-foot putt, and Morgan poked in a 2-footer for the win

"Obviously I am disappointed I didn't win because I got myself in position to be in control," Roberts said. "I'm not that upset. I just happened to hit a [tee] shot at the wrong time in the wrong spot."

Morgan closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 16-under 197 and break the tournament record by two strokes. Roberts also shot a 67.

Morgan is no stranger to Roberts' plight. Last week at Oak Tree Golf Club in Edmond, Okla., Morgan blew a one-shot lead with a final-round 74 and lost the Senior PGA Championship by two strokes.

It was Morgan's fifth top-three finish since his last win.

"I've been in contention a few times and let them get away," Morgan said. "I felt real sorry for him because he played so well most of the day, and to end up letting it get away, I know exactly what that feels like. It's not a lot of fun."

Playing together in the final threesome, Roberts erased Morgan's one-shot lead with a birdie on the fourth hole. Morgan bogeyed No. 6 to fall one stroke back, and Roberts built a cushion with birdies on the next two holes.

Morgan missed a 5-foot putt for par on the 10th hole and fell three shots behind Roberts. Morgan birdied four of the next five holes, but Roberts stuck his tee shot on the par-3 14th within 7 feet of the cup and birdied to push his lead back to three strokes.

"I got to thinking, well, there's still a lot of golf left to play," Morgan said. "I couldn't seem to gain a whole lot of ground on [Roberts] even though he had a few birdies until he made that error on 17."

Near-perfect weather for all three rounds led to the lowest scores in the tournament's six-year history.

Of the 78 players in the field, 60 finished at even par or better.

Hajime Meshiai shot a 68 to finish three strokes back in third place, by far his best career showing on the Champions Tour. An 11-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, Meshiai had never finished higher than eighth in a senior event. But Meshiai moved into a tie for third with a 64 on Saturday, and survived a pair of bogeys with six birdies to finish 3 under.

Keith Fergus (68) finished fourth at 11 under.

Roberts, who claimed three of the tour's first four events but hasn't won since February, took the loss in stride -- and with good reason.

By finishing second, he moved past Jay Haas atop the Champions Tour money list.

"I haven't thrown too many away in my career, so I don't feel too bad," Roberts said. "Gil played good. I know we wished he had got it together one week sooner playing at home. But he played good."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press