Former Masters champ Larry Mize put on a very masterful performance this week. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Sunday Notebook: Allen joins Arnie in Senior PGA history
Michael Allen's debut was a record effort in many ways. Plus, Mark O'Meara finishes strongly, Jay Haas experienced some deja vu, Greg Norman's week went by the numbers, and more.
By The PGA of America Media Staff and Dave Senko
BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- Michael Allen is the 23rd player to win the Senior PGA Championship in his first try. Denis Watson (2007) was the most recent to capture the Senior PGA Championship in his debut. That list also includes Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Hale Irwin.
HANGING WITH ARNIE: Allen and Arnold Palmer are the only two players to win the Senior PGA Championship in their Champions Tour debut.
A ONE-TWO FIRST: Since the beginning of the Champions Tour in 1980, this marks the first time that the top two finishers were making their first appearances in the Senior PGA Championship.
TOM TERRIFIC: With his final-round 66 Sunday, Tom Watson tied the low 18-hole score of the 70th Senior PGA Championship. Watson and Mize also shot 30 (4 under par) on the front nine Sunday to match Fred Funk for the low score over either nine this week.
FOURTH-YOUNGEST IN THE FIELD: 2009 Senior PGA Champion Michael Allen (born Jan. 31, 1959) is the fourth-youngest player in the field this week. Bob Tway, the 1986 PGA Champion, is the youngest. He was born May 4, 1959.
LOVIN' THAT BACK NINE: Michael Allen shined on the back nine this week as he captured the 70th Senior PGA Championship. He played the back nine in 7 under par.
BACK-NINE BESTS: Ross Drummond and Lonnie Nielsen (second round) and Tim Simpson (third round) all fired 4-under-par 32s, the best scores on the back nine this week.
MASTERFUL MIZE: Runner-up Larry Mize earned a check for $216,000 and posted his third top-10 finish in his last four starts on the Champions Tour. He was T8 at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am and T4 at last week's Regions Charity Classic. Earlier this spring, he made the most of his only appearance outside the Champions Tour this year. The 1987 Masters Champion, Mize opened with 67 at The Masters and finished in a tie for 30th place.
SEVEN SWINGING SENIOR PGA CHAMPIONS: Tom Watson led the seven former Senior PGA Champions who played all four rounds this week at Canterbury Golf Club. Watson fished fourth at even par, while Jay Haas tied for ninth at +2. Behind them were Mike Reid at +9 (T44), Allen Doyle at +12 (T57), Hale Irwin at +13 (T59), Tom Wargo at +14 (T68) and John Jacobs at +16 (T70).
STRONG FINISH FOR O'MEARA: Mark O'Meara's return to the site of his 1979 U.S. Amateur triumph, which served as a springboard to his outstanding professional career, turned out to be a memorable one. After opening with 76, O'Meara improved every round, shooting 70-69-68. He closed out his 2-under round Sunday with a birdie on No. 18.
"I got off to a rough start on the back side the first day and I could have packed it in but I didn't," said O'Meara. "I kept hanging in there and fighting and to shoot what I did over the last three days was a good accomplishment. So I won a little bit of the battle. I didn't certainly win tournament, but at least I fought back.
"And now here I am 30 years later, having won 30 tournaments around the world and 16 in the United States ... I propel it all back to the Canterbury win here in '79. So I feel very fortunate to have played this great game for a long time."
FRIGHTENING FOURTH: The 470-yard, par-4 fourth hole was the hardest this week in terms of stroke average, at 4.412. The par-3 17th hole yielded the fewest birdies for the week (22).
TOUGH FINISH FOR STOCKTON: Thirteen years after winning the U.S. Senior Open at Canterbury, Dave Stockton started strong this week but was unable to finish in the same manner. The 67-year-old Stockton, who opened with 70, closed today with 78 for a four-day total of 13-over-par 293. He tied for 59th place.
DRUMMOND'S LONG WALK: The midway leader at Canterbury, Scotland's Ross Drummond struggled over the weekend. He shot 76-76 and finished tied for 37th place.
DEJA VU FOR HAAS: Defending Champion Jay Haas closed with 69 and finished in a tie for ninth at 2-over-par 282. Interestingly, Haas tied for ninth the first time he defended his Senior PGA Championship title, in 2007 at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island (S.C.) Golf Resort.
A VERY NORMAL NORMAN: Set back by a triple bogey on the 16th hole in the second round, Greg Norman played two ordinary rounds over the weekend. For the Championship, he shot 73-72-73-72. Last year, in his Senior PGA Championship debut, Norman shot 72-73-72-73.
WITH HIS VICTORY: Michael Allen earned fully exempt status on the Champions Tour through next year’s Senior PGA Championship, a spot in the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National GC in Minnesota and a five-year exemption into the Mitsbushi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Hawaii.
The win also earned Allen 720 points in the year-long Charles Schwab Cup race based on double points being awarded in major championships and he now moves into second place in the race with those 720 points. Bernhard Langer currently leads with 922 points. Larry Mize is now third with 593 points. Loren Roberts (572) and Keith Fergus (570) round out the top five.
Allen's win ended a winless streak of 267 starts on the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour since his 1998 Nationwide Tour victory at the Greater Austin Open. He has been winless in 334 starts on the PGA TOUR, where he is currently an exempt player.
THE FLASH IS BACK: Bruce Fleisher's third-place finish was his best finish in a Champions Tour event since he was third at the 2004 Ford Senior Players Championship at the TPC Michigan in Dearborn. The 60-year-old Fleisher has finished T8, T13, T18 and third in his last four starts.
THE GOOD DOCTOR: Gil Morgan, 62, also made a nice showing, finishing T5, his 24th top-10 finish in a major championship on the Champions Tour. It was also his sixth in this event.
ACE IN THE PLACE: Chip Beck made the fourth hole-in-one on the 2009 Champions Tour when he aced the 188-yard, 13th hole on Sunday with a 4-iron. It was the second ace in two days in the tournament. Roger Chapman made one on No. 17 on Saturday.