Colin Montgomerie said he was constantly scanning the electronic leaderboards Sunday in the final round of the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club.
“Oh, I’m the ultimate scoreboard watcher,” he said. “I knew exactly what was going on.”
Corey Pavin was making a move. Then, Vijah Singh. Doug Garwood, the defending champion, moved into contention.
But what the others saw Sunday was Montgomerie surging to the top of the leaderboard down the stretch. With five birdies on the back nine, the man known as “Monty” surged to an 8-under 64 and a three-shot victory over Singh and Garwood in the PGA Tour Champions event.
If anyone has a lot of momentum going into the three-tournament Charles Schwab Cup playoffs to end the season, it’s Montgomerie, who also won the Japan Airlines Championship early last month and now has six career PGA Tour Champions wins.
“This is a moment to savor,” Montgomerie said. “I’m delighted to win here. They had one of the strongest fields this year and this will give me a huge amount of confidence for the playoffs.”
Montgomerie, 54, has long been considered one of the best players never to win one of golf major championships and is a member of the Golf Hall of Fame. The Scot was a big Ryder Cup star for the Europeans, has more than 40 international victories and now is enjoying the sunset-of-his-career ride on the PGA Tour Champions, twice winning the Senior PGA Championship.
On Sunday, he held off a former U.S. Open champion in Pavin and Singh, a three-time major champion, finishing at 16-under 200. The payoff was $315,000, moving him to seventh in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with $1.33 million.
Singh and Garwood each had 66s for 203 totals, Garwood missing a 15-foot birdie putt at the 18th. Pavin was at 204 after a 67.
It was strange not having Bernhard Langer in contention on the final day. Langer, the 2012 SAS winner, again leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings and tour money list with more than $3 million and will be bidding for his fifth Cup title.
John Daly, always a tournament draw, tied for 20th at 210 after a 69.
Early on the back nine Sunday, it appeared Montgomerie and Pavin might duel it out. The two were rival captains in the 2010 Ryder Cup, Montgomerie and the European team winning by one point over Pavin and the U.S. at Celtic Manor in Wales.
Pavin’s birdie at the 10th gave him the lead, but Montgomerie soon matched it, and Singh began a push with an eagle at the par-5 12th hole, pulling within a shot. Singh double-bogeyed the par-3 third Sunday, but regrouped to make a run.
Pavin, using the Bullseye putter he has had for more than 30 years, rolled in long birdie putts at the 13th and 15th holes. But he also missed short par putts at the 14th and 16th holes, three-putting the 16th.
“There were a couple of little things I could have done better coming in but all in all it was a pretty good day,” Pavin said.
Montgomerie had just one bogey over the last 51 holes, so there were few hiccups. He birdied the 12th, then the 14th. He knocked in a 20-footer for birdie at the 15th and added a final birdie at the par-5 17th to be able to stroll up the 18th.
“I look forward to the three weeks with added incentive now,” he said.