Pettersson hangs on to win at Innisbrook; Allred fades late
The Associated Press
PALM HARBOR, Fla. ' No one can ever say Carl Pettersson stumbled into his first PGA Tour victory.
First came an incredible chip from a buried lie in the rough on the 15th hole that allowed him to save par and keep the lead. Then he faced a daunting tee shot on No. 16, the hardest hole at Innisbrook with mangled rough on the left and water on the right. That's when Pettersson found out he was capable of winning the Chrysler Championship.
I said, 'Just step up and make a good swing. If it goes in the rough, it goes in the rough. If it goes in the water, it goes in the water. Buck up and hit a good one,' he said. I managed to do it somehow.
The shot was perfect, and he had no trouble the rest of the way until nerves set in as he two-putted from 20 feet for par on the last hole, knocking the first one — feet by.
Pettersson closed with an even-par 71 for a one-shot victory over hard-charging Chad Campbell on a day when even some of the losers found reason to celebrate.
— Campbell, who made five birdies on the back nine to make Pettersson sweat, shot 67 and earned enough money to jump from No. 43 to No. 17 on the money list and qualify for the Tour Championship.
I'm not happy with second, Campbell said. But I'm happy the result got me in the Tour Championship.
Charles Howell III and Tim Herron narrowly got in, too, with Herron needing help from two players ' Tom Pernice Jr. making double bogey on the 17th, and Steve Lowery missing a birdie putt on the last hole.
Tag Ridings, whose knees shake this time of the year as he tries to keep his PGA Tour card, shot 67 to tie for third and moved from No. 125 to No. 101 on the money list, securing a job for next year.
The same couldn't be said for former Ashland High standout Jason Allred, who suffered a late-round meltdown to finish in a five-way tie for 52nd at 4-over 288. Allred entered Sunday's fourth round at — over and held that score through 15 holes until three straight bogeys on hole Nos. 16-18 kept him from one of his best finishes on the PGA Tour.
The biggest winner on a sunny, breezy afternoon at Innisbrook was Pettersson, born in Sweden and raised in North Carolina, teased by his peers as the only Swedish redneck on the PGA Tour.
He finished at 9-under 275 and earned &
36;954,000, fulfilling a dream he had as a kid of winning at the highest level.
It was a little easier in the dreams, Pettersson said. It's nice to finish it off the way I did.
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP ' At Sonoma, Calif., Tom Watson rallied from a six-shot deficit with an 8-under 64 Sunday to win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the season-ending event on the Champions Tour.
Watson surged up the leaderboard as third-round leader Jay Haas struggled, finishing at 16-under 272 for his second win of the year and eighth victory on the Champions Tour.
The Senior British Open champion, who had 39 PGA Tour victories, earned &
36;440,000 and also claimed the Charles Schwab Cup points race and a &
36;1 million annuity.
Haas, going for his third win in four weeks, closed with a 71 and was one stroke back. Tom Kite had a final-round 67 and was third at 13 under. Mark McNulty was 11 under after a closing 68, and Loren Roberts and leading money winner Dana Quigley were another stroke back in fifth after 70s.
CJ NINE BRIDGES CLASSIC ' At Jeju, South Korea, Jee Young Lee of South Korea won her first LPGA Tour title, closing with a 1-over-par 73 for a three-shot victory in the CJ Nine Bridges Classic.
Lee led all three rounds and finished at 5-under 211 to easily beat Mi-Hyun Kim and Carin Koch. She refused to consider victory until she stood over a short par putt on the final hole.
Her nerves showed down the stretch when she made three straight bogeys until finishing with a par. Lee became the fourth South Korean in four years to win the tournament. Defending champion Grace Park had a 70 and tied for sixth.
Annika Sorenstam, who already has clinched LPGA player of the year, closed with a 70 to tie for 13th. Paula Creamer, who started the final round five shots of the lead, shot a 79.
VOLVO MASTERS ' At Sotogrande, Spain, not even eligible for all the majors at the start of the year, Colin Montgomerie completed a remarkable turnaround when he tied for third in the Volvo Masters and captured his record eighth money title on the European tour.
Paul McGinley of Ireland closed with a 4-under-par 67 at Valderrama for a two-shot victory over Sergio Garcia, his first victory this year. He finished at 10-under 274.
But the season-ending event was all about the Order of Merit, which Montgomerie won seven straight times in the 1990s until his streak ended in 2000.
After going through a public divorce last year and watching his world ranking plunge to No. 83, Montgomerie turned his game around with a runner-up finish to Tiger Woods in the British Open, then winning the Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in October for his first victory in 19 months.
NATIONWIDE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP ' At Prattville, Ala., David Branshaw hit an approach to 2 feet for eagle on the par-5 17th hole to win the Nationwide Tour Championship and join 20 other players who earned PGA Tour cards for the 2006 season.
Branshaw, 29th on the money list going into the final event of the year, closed with a 1-under 71 for a two-shot victory over Eric Axley. He finished at 12-under 272 and earned &
Axley, who was 27th on the money list, bogeyed the 17th for a three-shot swing and wound up with a 69. Even so, his runner-up finish was worth &
36;70,200 and sends him to the PGA Tour for the first time.
The top 21 players on the Nationwide money list earn tour cards. An extra spot was created because Jason Gore won three times on the Nationwide Tour to earn an instant promotion to the PGA Tour, where he won the 84 Lumber Classic last month.