Pate, 48, becomes oldest Nationwide winner
Sunday, March 7, 2010
BOGOTA, Colombia – Steve Pate became the oldest champion in Nationwide Tour history, winning the Bogota Open on Sunday when Aaron Watkins missed a 3-foot par putt on the second hole of a playoff.
At 48 years, 9 months, 11 days, Pate broke the tour record of 48 years, 6 months, 17 days set by Dick Mast in the 1999 New Mexico Classic.
Pate won for the first time since the 1998 CVS Charity Classic, the last of his six PGA Tour titles. The victory drought spanned 245 starts (173 PGA Tour, 72 Nationwide Tour) and lasted 11 years, 7 months, 11 days.
“It sure is nice to win anything. I haven’t done that in a long time,” Pate said. “Three-footers out here are not tap-ins. I feel bad for Aaron but everybody’s missed a bunch of them this week.”
Pate closed with an even-par 71 to match Watkins (68) at 11-under 273 on the Bogota Country Club course. Jamie Lovemark matched the course record with a 65 to tie for third at 9 under with William McGirt (70) and Tag Ridings (71).
Pate eagled the par-5 13th, holing a 35-footer, to pull within a stroke of Watkins and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17. Pate had a chance to win on the par-5 18th, but his 25-foot birdie try slid over the edge of the cup.
“I thought I made that one. I really did,” Pate said.
Playing the par-5 18th again in the playoff, both players parred the first extra hole. Pate missed a 10-foot birdie try, and Watkins two-putted from 40 feet.
Watkins then missed his short birdie try on the second extra hole to end it.
“I’m not sure what happened on that one,” Watkins said. “I don’t know if I pushed it or what. I’ve had a great week here and happy with my finish.”
Pate earned $108,000 and is fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour for the rest of this year and all of next year – when he will join the Champions Tour.
“I really don’t have the desire to continue to grind it out on the PGA Tour. I just don’t,” Pate said. “I’d love to play a handful of events and I’ll do that if I get in, but I don’t want to do that week in and week out.
“I’d love to play some three-day tournaments with a bunch of guys I’ve known forever and work with my golf course design company and be done.”
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