Russ Cochran wins PGA Champions Tour SAS Championship

CorrespondentOctober 13, 2013 

— Russ Cochran lost his lead for a bit down the stretch on the final day of the 13th SAS Championship.

The way he finished Sunday showed he’s beginning to own Prestonwood Country Club.

Cochran birdied the final four holes of the 54-hole PGA Champions Tour event for a 5-under 67, sinking an eight-footer on No. 18 to shoot 17-under 199 and beat David Frost by a single stroke.

Cochran earned $315,000 for the win, while Frost took home $184,800. It was Cochran’s second win of the season to go with his victory at the Principal Charity Classic in June in Iowa.

“It’s a hard tournament to win, especially from the lead,” said Cochran, who made a big splash with a first-round 66 – including a 7-under-par 30 on the back nine – and has been in first or second place after 18 on all five of his visits here. “You know everyone is back there just firing at the hole, and they’re running at the putts. And the wind was up just a little bit today.

“Congratulations to David. He played a great round (66). I knew someone was going to play well, and I was hoping to hang around there and catch fire. It took every hole to do that.”

It was also the fifth PGA Champions win for the lefty, whose mother, Marcia, had driven 14 hours from Paducah, Ky., to watch her son win for the second time at Prestonwood (2010). The only southpaw to win here became only the second two-time winner at Prestonwood, joining Bruce Lietzke who won the first two events in 2001 and ’02.

“She’s a great lady – not just having her here but just kind of the way it happened,” Cochran said. “She jumped in that car – you’re not going to tell her anything – and I think she turned about a 10½-hour drive into about a 14-hour drive with traffic and mountains and everything. I was worried about her the whole time, and when she got here, true to form, she said, ‘I had the greatest trip. I had more fun and more experiences.’”

The last time a golfer on this tour had birdied the final four holes was Mark Calcavecchia in 2011 at the Boeing Invitational in Seattle. Somehow, fittingly, Cochran was the victim that time, losing to Calcavecchia on the first playoff hole.

“You know when something like that happens it builds,” Cochran said. “I would say the thing that kind of got me kick-started, made me feel like I was going to make some birdies, was probably the 9-iron I hit on the 15th hole. It’s a really tough pin to get to because it’s on a little knob, a little knoll. I hit it right at the pin about 2½ feet short, so obviously that’s where you get started.”

Kirk Triplett shot 68 to finish third with a 202. Gary Hallberg shot 66 to finish fourth at 203.

Defending champion and current tour money leader Bernhard Langer had a tough day, shooting 73 to finish in a three-way tie for eighth at 207.

Charles Schwab Cup Points leader Kenny Perry shot 72 to finish in a seven-way tie for 11th place at 208. Mark O’Meara was also in that group, closing with a tournament-best 65.

The tour, which has three events remaining in the season, moves across the state for the Greater Hickory Kia Classic beginning Friday.

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