El Dorado Hills, Calif.
A new putter proved golden for Tom Kite at the Gold Rush Classic Sept. 30.
Kite putted his way to a tournament-record 22-under-par 194 to edge Allen Doyle by one shot at Serrano Country Club.
Kite’s score also tied a Senior PGA Tour record in relation to par. Raymond Floyd set the mark at the Gulfstream Aerospace Invitational in 1993, and Ed Dougherty tied it this year at the TD Waterhouse Championship.
“I have been hitting the ball as well or better than anyone on this tour, but I have been just worthless on the greens,” said Kite, who won $195,000.
That was certainly not the case last week. He experimented with a new mid-size Odyssey putter early in the week and used it all three days of the tournament.
“I putted a lot better this week,” said Kite, who won for the first time in 15 months. “This is how I have hit the ball all year. Look at the stats, I’m in the top 10 in about everything but about 70th in putting.”
Kite took charge when he tied the course record with a 10-under 62 Saturday. His round included two eagles, eight birdies – including six consecutive – and two bogeys.
“It was an incredible day, a lot of good things happened and I got some breaks,” Kite said Saturday. “It was hard to say I could have been better, but it could have.”
It was a disappointing loss for Doyle, who didn’t have a bogey in a closing 63, the day’s lowest score. His 195 tied defending champion Jim Thorpe’s record of a year ago.
“I had two weeks of birdies out here in one week and I still didn’t win,” Doyle said. “That’s just how it goes sometimes. Normally this score was good enough to win.”
Doyle won $114,400 and passed Bruce Fleisher to take over first place on the money list. He has $2,332,942, while Fleisher, who tied for ninth and won $35,100, has $2,278,857.
–From staff and wire reports