Denis Watson wins AT&T Champions Classic, beating Roberts in playoff
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Zimbabwe's Denis Watson won the AT&T Champions Classic for his third Champions Tour title in two seasons, beating Loren Roberts with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff Sunday at Valencia.
Watson, the 2007 Senior PGA Championship and Boeing Classic winner, birdied the par-5 18th in regulation for a 7-under 65 and a share of the top spot with Roberts (70) and Brad Bryant (72) at 7-under 209. Bryant was eliminated on the second extra hole.
AT&T Champions Classic Leaderboard
1. Watson-x (-7)
T-2. Roberts (-7)
T-2. Bryant (-7)
4. Haas (-6)
T-5. four tied (-5)
x-won in playoff
"I'd like to watch that shot over and over again," Watson said. "That was so pure. That's as good a shot as I've hit in a long time."
Last year, Tom Purtzer beat Roberts on the fourth hole of a playoff.
Watson, Roberts and Bryant opened the playoff with pars on No. 18. Watson and Roberts birdied the 18th on the second playoff hole to eliminate Bryant. Watson then won with the short birdie putt on the third extra hole.
Watson began the day tied for 20th, seven shots back. He finished regulation play 80 minutes before Roberts and Bryant completed their rounds.
"I knew if I had a really good round I had a chance," Watson said. "I didn't know what the guys were going to do on the back. I played well, got away with two bad shots, but I played really solid golf."
Jay Haas, coming off a playoff loss to Bernhard Langer last week at Newport Beach in the Toshiba Classic, shot a 71 to finish a stroke back at 6 under. Langer (72), Jerry Pate (70), John Cook (71) and Scott Simpson (71) followed at 5 under, Don Pooley (70) was another stroke back and Purtzer (73) was 3 under.
Bryant had a chance to win in regulation, but his 19-foot birdie attempt on the final hole came up just short. Also a playoff loser to Scott Hoch last month in The ACE Group Classic, Bryant dropped out on the second extra hole when his 9-foot birdie try slid by the left edge.
"It was a tough day. I didn't putt well, but I thought I played good enough to win," Bryant said. "I'm disappointed. It is three straight seconds I thought I would have won one of them."
Watson played the front nine in 3 under, eagling the par-5 first and ninth holes and making a bogey on the par-4 eighth. He added four birdies in a bogey-free back nine, converting on Nos. 11, 13, 16 and 18 to get into the playoff.
Roberts chipped in from 43 yards for eagle on the final hole of regulation.
"I probably shouldn't have gotten in the playoff, but once I got in I wanted to finish it," Roberts said. "It is disappointing when I couldn't do that."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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