2006: Morgan gets major rebound
West Des Moines, Iowa
Gil Morgan won one week too late. At the Senior PGA Championship the previous week, Morgan let the major slip away at his home course.
“I missed out on a golden opportunity, playing at home,” Morgan told the Des Moines Register. “That one will probably never come around for me, especially in any kind of major championship. It’s not something I try to dwell on, but at the same time it’s an opportunity I let get away.
“There’s a ton of them I’d like to have over in my career . . . a shot here, a putt there. But you can’t change that at this point in time. The best you can do is play well from this point forward.”
With that mindset, Morgan rallied on the back nine at the Allianz Championship June 4 to catch and pass Loren Roberts for the victory. Morgan finished at 16-under 197 after a final-round 67. Roberts finished one behind.
The victory was the 24th of Morgan’s career and first since the 2004 SBC Classic. Morgan, 59, ended a drought of 2 years, 2 months and 21 days. That’s 57 events between victories.
Morgan is now tied with Miller Barber for all-time victories on the Champions Tour behind Hale Irwin (44) and Lee Trevino (29).
“It’s just nice to be able to come back and get a win,” Morgan said. “I haven’t won in a long time, so that got me back into the sync of at least having a winning year. As old as I’m getting, those are hard to find.”
Roberts, who won the tour’s first three events, had a three-shot lead on the back nine before he made a double bogey at No. 17 after hitting his second shot in the water.
“Obviously I am disappointed I didn’t win because I got myself in position to be in control,” Roberts said. “I’m not that upset. I just happened to hit a (tee) shot at the wrong time in the wrong spot.”
Delayed ace: Fuzzy Zoeller might have had the – delayed – shot of the week.
At the 173-yard 16th hole Saturday, Zoeller pulled his 7-iron that went to the back of the green. The ball stayed in the fringe for about 10 seconds before slowly rolling toward the hole.
Zoeller didn’t see the ball go in as he was off to the side with his caddie. Zoeller, who finished with a 68 to reach 7 under, gave the crowd a wry grin and a sarcastic thumbs-up after one of the most improbable of his 16 career aces.
“It was a lucky shot,” Zoeller said. “It’s a crazy game. I’m just glad I don’t have to do it for a living.”
John Harris aced the 16th hole on Sunday with a 6-iron from 168 yards. It was the eighth hole in one of Harris’ career, all coming with 6-irons.
Arnie to Open: Arnold Palmer has announced he will play the U.S. Senior Open July 6-9 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. Palmer, 76, won the Senior Open in 1981 at Oakland Hills in Birmingham, Mich. It will be the 26th consecutive Senior Open for Palmer, who did not play in the first Senior Open in 1980. The age requirement was 55 for the ’80 Open and was lowered to 50 in 1981.
“My golf has certainly not been up to par of late,” Palmer said in a statement on his Web site. “Hopefully, by the time I get to Kansas, my game will be much better.”
The field will include 13 past champions and Greg Norman, who finished fourth last year in one of his only two over-50 starts. He finished third at the Senior British Open.
Short shots: Monday qualifier James Blair shot 9-under 204 to tie for sixth. Blair is the second Monday qualifier this year to earn a top-10 finish. Dick Mast tied for sixth at the Regions Charity Classic May 7. . . . Danny and David Edwards tied for 10th, the second top-10 finishes for the brothers in a month. At the Regions Charity Classic, David was third and Danny tied for sixth. David Edwards has five consecutive top-15 finishes in five events since joining the tour in late April. . . . Hajime Meshiai (third)
had his career-best finish. . . . Kirk Hanefeld tied for sixth in only his second start on the Champions Tour. Hanefeld made his debut at the Senior PGA Championship (T-19). . . . The field averaged 70.155 for the week, a tournament record. . . . R.W. Eaks withdrew after five holes Sunday with a back problem. . . . The Champions Tour’s season-finale, The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, will return to Sonoma (Calif.) Golf Club through 2008.
– Staff and wire reports
On the tee
Next up: Commerce Bank Championship, June 23-25, The Red Course at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, N.Y. Defending champion: Ron Streck.