Kevin Sutherland rallies to win Cologuard Classic on PGA Tour Champions
TUCSON, Ariz. — The last time Mike Weir and Kevin Sutherland each won, they did so in the state of Arizona. Sutherland's win was just (...)
TUCSON, Ariz. — The last time Mike Weir and Kevin Sutherland each won, they did so in the state of Arizona.
Sutherland’s win was just three months ago at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix. Mike Weir, meanwhile, hasn’t won since 2007. That’s a stretch of 13 years, four months and seven days since he won the Fry’s Electronics Open on the PGA Tour at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale.
On Sunday, when Weir birdied the eighth hole at the Cologuard Classic, the second PGA Tour Champions event in 2021, he took a four-shot lead. It started to look like the drought would finally be over.
But on a chilly and windy day, Sutherland, who started the final round two shots back of the lead, made his move on the back nine at the Omni Tucson National Resort.
He birdied the 10th and 12th and then chipped in for birdie on the par-3 16th, the only birdie on that hole on Sunday. When Weir bogeyed the 16th, there was a tie for the lead with two to go.
On the par-5 17th, Sutherland made a short birdie putt to take a one-shot lead. Both striped their drives on the 18th hole and after Sutherland stuffed his approach to about 10 feet, he made a par putt to clinch the win at 15 under.
“Arizona’s been good to me,” Sutherland said. “For some reason, I’ve played well in this tournament in the past. I’ve played well in the Phoenix Open. For some reason, Arizona’s always been good to me. I don’t know what it is about the air here but I seem to enjoy it.”
Weir bogeyed the last to finish 13 under. It’s his second solo finish on the Champions tour.
An eventful week
Phil Mickelson posted 14 birdies over the course of three days but had a double bogey in each of his first two rounds and a triple on the ninth hole on Sunday.
In both his first and second rounds, Mickelson also had an adventure on the 15h hole. Two days in a row, his ball nearly went into the lake and both days, he made amazing saves. Friday he hit off the mud to make birdie, Saturday he saved par after taking off his socks and shoes to stand in the lake to hit again from the mud.
When he got to the 15th tee on Sunday, he quickly charted a different path.
This time, he had caddie/brother Tim Mickelson pull a stake out of the ground to lower the rope, motioned a course volunteer out of the way, aimed right off the box and punched his tee shot through a small opening of trees up the 17th fairway.
After arriving at his ball in the fairway, he said “What’s up?” to the oncoming group of Billy Andrade, Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk.
“Then I only had about 215 to the hole and took a 4-wood over the trees,” Mickelson said. His ball landed between the 15th green’s front-facing bunkers. From there, he chipped on and two putted for par but expressed frustration about it.
“This is the stuff I’ve been doing. I hit a decent chip but I left it above the hole, missed the putt, make a 5. I hit three decent shots and I got a 5, and I gotta fix that somehow.”
It’s not an uncommon strategy at Tucson National. Woody Austin, for one, does it all the time, according to frequent spectators at the event.
Mickelson finished in a seven-way tie for 20th at 4 under, his bid for an unprecedented third win in his first three Champions tour starts falling short.
He wore a red shirt under his black pullover Sunday, part of the show of support across the golf world for Tiger Woods.
“So two things happened today. I wore red in honor of Tiger to let him know that the players support him and appreciate all that he’s done,” he said. “I had to buy a red shirt and of course every red shirt here (in Tucson) has a big A on it (for the University of Arizona, arch rival to Mickelson’s Arizona State). I’m not going to flash it (the A) but it’s under here (his black pullover). I hope he knows that we’re supporting him. Because that was a lot for me to do that.”
Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker finished T-3 with Scott Parel. Jeff Maggert finished solo fifth. Tournament ambassador Jerry Kelly finished 9 under and tied for sixth with Tim Petrovic. Defending champion Bernhard Langer parred the 18th hole to shoot an even-par 73 and finish 6 under, tied for 14th. Local favorite Jim Furyk tied for 17th at 5 under.