Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 03:08 Monday, 11 October 2010 02:56
POTOMAC, Md. (AP) -- Mark O'Meara was always among the best on the PGA TOUR when it came to wrapping up victories in the final round, his nerves rarely failing him.
He just hadn't been having a whole lot of luck doing it on the Champions Tour.
That all changed Sunday, when the two-time major winner knocked in a 4-foot par putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Michael Allen and win the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, his first individual victory on the Champions Tour.
"It's a thrill. It's been a long time coming," O'Meara said of his first individual win since the Dubai Desert Classic in 2004.
"This is a demanding course. It's a class field. It's a senior major championship. So I feel like I hit the jackpot."
O'Meara had a three-shot advantage on the back nine at the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, but a bogey on No. 16 shrunk his lead, and Allen charged into contention with birdies on three of the last five holes. Both finished at 7 under.
In the playoff, O'Meara hit a perfect drive and Allen wound up in the rough, setting the stage for O'Meara -- a nine-time runner up on the over-50 tour -- to pick up the elusive victory.
"I played a little more conservative on my second shot, because I knew he was going to have a tough pitch to get it up and down," O'Meara said. "I'm just thankful that ball went in."
Loren Roberts (68) finished third and Jeff Sluman (66) took fourth. Charles Schwab Cup points leader Bernhard Langer rallied to shoot a 67, good for a ninth-place finish.
The only Canadian in the field, Victoria, B.C.'s Jim Rutledge had a final round 67 to finish at even par and had his first top-10 finish in 12 Champions Tour starts earning $86,400. His effort helped him jump from 69th to 59thon the money list.
Allen had several chances to close O'Meara out before the playoff, but rued a couple of squandered opportunities despite shooting 66. He missed birdie putts on Nos. 15 and 18 that could have given him the lead.
"I've had a lot of second-place finishes that felt pretty darn good, and this one doesn't feel quite as good," said Allen, who was second last week at the Viking Classic on the PGA TOUR.
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