NAPLES, Fla. — Even though he has beaten Bernhard Langer twice down the stretch for Champions Tour titles, Kirk Triplett isn’t ready to say he’s the German star’s nemesis.
“No,” Triplett said. “We’re just going to say the sample size is still very small.”
The 51-year-old Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High School, won the ACE Group Classic on Sunday for his third Champions Tour title, holing a 6-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory.
Triplett shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 16-under 200 on TwinEagles’ Talon Course. He won the 50-and-over tour’s Pebble Beach event the past two years after winning three times on the PGA Tour.
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“I’ve never won out here on this side of the world,” Triplett said. “I’m a West Coast guy through and through, so to win on this Bermuda grass is, I think, a little bit of a minor miracle for me.”
Langer, the defending champion, Duffy Waldorf and Olin Browne tied for second. Triplett, Langer and Waldorf, playing together in the final group, were all tied on the 18th tee, but Triplett made par while the other two posted bogeys.
In Triplett’s last victory at Pebble Beach, he also was paired with Langer, who has owned this event the past three years, winning in 2011 and 2013 and finishing second behind Kenny Perry in 2012.
“He’s awesome to play with,” Triplett said. “I’m telling you, you know the guy, he’s such a great competitor and he’s such a nice man. We were joking last week, ‘If you shot one shot worse than Bernhard every day all year, what would you finish on the money list?’ Somebody goes, ‘Second, right?’ because it just feels that way sometimes.”
Rick Fehr of Redmond closed with a 79 to finish at 11-over 227 to take 77th.
LOS ANGELES — Bubba Watson delivered the best closing round at Riviera in some three decades, playing the final 39 holes without a bogey and shooting a 7-under 64 in the final round to win the Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour.
It was his first victory since the 2012 Masters.
Watson finished two shots better than Dustin Johnson, who closed with a 66.
Watson, who also had a 64 Saturday, finished at 15-under 269, and he wasn’t the only big winner.
Jason Allred, a product of Ashland, Ore., who went to college at Pepperdine, played bogey-free for a 68 and tied for third with Brian Harman, who also had a 68. Allred was a Monday qualifier, and this was his first regular PGA Tour event since he last had his card in 2008.
The tie for third was a career-best for the 33-year-old Allred. He earned $388,600, which is more than he had made in his entire career. He now is exempt into the Honda Classic in two weeks.
Richard H. Lee, a former Husky, had a 69 for a 1-under 283 to tie for 45th. Michael Putnam (72) of University Place had a 6-over 290 to tie for 74th.
• The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting U.S. president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole this weekend because of damage from an ice storm, the club said.
• Alex Cejka won the Web.com Tour’s Colombia Championship with an 8-under 63 in the completion of the third round before rain washed out the final round in Bogota. Cejka finished at 14-under 199 with Andrew Putnam of Tacoma second after a 68 for an 11-under 202 to earn $81,000. Andres Gonzales of Olympia closed with a 67 for a 6-under 207 to tie for 14th. Jeff Gove (69) of Kenmore finished tied for 21st at 5-under 208 and former Husky Nick Taylor (68) finished tied for 41st at 3-under 210.
• Australia’s Karrie Webb won the Women’s Australian Open for the record fifth time, shooting a 4-under 68 for a 12-under 276 to beat South Africa’s Chella Choi by a stroke in Melbourne.