Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie didn’t do anything to lose his first major championship, on the contrary he wrestled it away from a group that contended early and fell away as Montgomerie put on the pedal to the metal shooting a 6-under 65 in the final round of the 75th Senior PGA Championship.
With a four shot victory, Montgomerie has finally accomplished at 50 something he never had accomplished in the previous 49 years, win a major.
Here are 5 Things to know from Benton Harbor, Mich.
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1. IT’S A MAJOR TO ME: Colin Montgomerie had played in 71 major championships, the first coming at the 1990 Open Championship and the last in 2010 at the PGA Championship.
During that time Montgomerie has found all manner of ways not to get the job done, but now with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy in his possession for the next year, in Monty’s mind he has won his major, finally.
“It felt like a major, very much so,” Montgomerie said on the birthday of his mother who passed away in 1991. “It did. It had that Major feel to it. I think the golf course made it that way. I think that the Michigan crowd made it that way.”
For Tom Watson, when he won his first Senior PGA major in 2001 it was his first win of an event conducted by the PGA of America, but the feeling wasn’t the same to him.
“Well, it’s different,” Watson said. “You’re not playing against the best. But you’re playing against the best of your age. You’re playing in the first flight. But you still won the major. You won the most important tournament.”
Clearly perspective is different depending on if you have won eight majors or still trying to get your first.
“I think that it had a great feeling of a major championship,” Montgomerie said. “Competing against guys that I had competed against on the regular tour, this was a strong field, a very strong field. Having to play with Bernhard Langer for four days in a row, he’s been dominating seniors golf for many years and it’s great to play and finally beat him. I’m sure normal services will resume next week with him. But finally I’ve managed to get the better of him.”
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2. FOUR TWOS: That was all Tom Watson wanted to talk about after shooting a 6 under 65, the amount of twos on his card.
Watson birdied the four of the five par 3s (second, fourth, 11th and 13th) at Harbor Shores to be the lone competitor to put any real pressure on Montgomerie.
“It was really one of the best rounds from tee to green that I played in years,” Watson said of his lowest round ever in the Senior PGA Championship. “It was really, really good. The putter felt like a snake in my hands. I missed a lot of short putts today. It could have been a much better round of golf, scoring round of golf. But I missed three or four really short putts that could have gone in for birdies.“
Watson started the final round four shots off the lead of Montgomerie. He remained in that position until a run of four birdies in five holes to start the back nine had him only one back during that run. But Watson could never catch Montgomerie and when he failed to make a birdie on the short par-5 fifteenth hole the race was done.
It was Watson’s best finish on the Champions Tour since he won the 2011 Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.
“I have mixed emotions about it, but it’s always nice to be able to put the ball where you want it and have a lot of looks at birdies,” Watson said of a round where he hit 17 of 18 greens. “But you need to make the putts to win and I didn’t do it today, but I certainly had the opportunities today. It could have been a real low round today and so I come away with a really good feeling inside about the way I played. Dinner is going to taste really nice tonight.”
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3. PLUSSES AND MINUSES: Kenny Perry was riding a four major win streak when he came to Harbor Shores, but leaves with a 13th place finish and disappointment in the suspension of his streak.
“I had a tough task,” Perry said after a final-round 70. “I shot 75 on Friday; that’s what killed me, because it took me right out of the tournament. You’re playing catch up at a major championship, that’s hard to do.”
After his round Perry received some good news, the PGA of America had granted him a special exemption into the PGA Championship at Valhalla.
“I wanted to get back to Valhalla one more time,” Perry said of the venue that is just down the road from his hometown of Franklin. “I’ve had my probably my worst defeat and my greatest victory there from the loss at the ’96 PGA and then in a playoff, and then to go in there with the Ryder Cup, Paul Azinger and just a phenomenal week.”
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4. EARLY CHARGE: Joe Durant just turned 50, but his game looked a lot younger in Sunday’s final round shooting a 7-under 64 to post 6 under on the board early Sunday.
In the end it was not nearly enough to catch Montgomerie at 13 under, but it was good enough for a T-5 in his maiden voyage on the Champions Tour.
“That was my goal today, was to try to go out and shoot a low number, because I felt like – I knew the weather was going to be good and I have been hitting my irons well and I felt like I could shoot a good number today,” Durant said. “I actually had like 63 in my mind today, if I could have gone out and hit all the shots and birdied a couple of the (par) 5s on the front. So I’m very, very happy with how I played today.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Montgomerie’s first-place check of $378,000 was the most he has won in the United States since his T-2 at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot when he won $501,249. … Langer made three double-bogeys over the four rounds; they were his first double bogeys in the 2014 Champions Tour season. … Montgomerie was the only competitor this week to record all four rounds in the 60s.