Beginner’s luck? Hard to call it that when the player involved is a three-time PGA Tour winner. But Jeff Maggert earned a victory in his first Champions Tour event thanks to a final-round 68 that helped him surpass Billy Andrade by two shots at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak in Saucier, Miss.
Maggert fell into a tie for the lead after a bogey at the 16th, but pulled back ahead of Andrade with a 50-footer on the 17th that gave him his third birdie in four holes and got him to 11 under, where he finished after a par at the last.
“You can’t count on those going in very often,” Maggert said of the long birdie putt. “. . . I was just trying to hit an easy lag putt. I wanted an easy tap-in for par and it was just one of those things – the ball found the hole.”
Andrade, the second-round co-leader, bogeyed the 16th as well to fall two shots back and parred in as well.
“I haven’t been in this type of situation in a long time,” he said. “It’s probably going to take me a little while to get the rust off when it comes to nerves and being in the hunt.”
Bernhard Langer and Jay Haas tied for third at 8 under, with Fred Couples another shot back in fifth.
Maggert was the only one of the top-five finishers to birdie the par-3 17th Sunday. His most recent PGA Tour win was the 2006 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
“I had expectations to play well, but I didn’t know if I would play well enough to win,” he said. “I’d been struggling a little with my game, but everything just kind of came together. It was one of the best tournaments, as far as ball striking, that I’ve had in a few years in any event. That really carried me through.”
Only Mike Goodes, Steve Pate and Jeff Sluman surpassed Maggert’s closing 68, all three shooting 67 and finishing among seven players tied for sixth. Langer and Purtzer matched the closing 68, the latter finishing 74th after opening 79-78.
– Associated Press contributed