Tom Watson's six-birdie, two-bogey 66 Sunday was the lowest score of the final round, but it was too little too late. (Photo: The PGA of America)
Sloppy Friday four-putt still sticks in Watson's craw
Over the course of a golf tournament, there are bound to be many holes a player wishes he could do over. In Tom Watson's case, that hole was the par-3 ninth at Canterbury, where a deflating four-putt double-bogey "killed" him.
By Craig Dolch, Special to PGA.com
BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- For 11 holes Sunday, it was the Tom Watson of old instead of an old Tom Watson.
The eight-time major champion charged into contention at the 70th Senior PGA Championship with four birdies on his first eight holes to move from seven shots behind to within three of the lead midway in the final round at Canterbury Golf Club.
Was Watson, a 39-time winner on the PGA Tour and 12-time Champions Tour winner, going to pull off one of the biggest comebacks in Senior PGA history?
A three-putt bogey at the 12th hole, followed by another bogey at No. 13, put the brakes on his rally. Two late birdies enabled him to match the competitive course record at Canterbury with a 4-under 66 that left him in fourth place, six shots behind winner Michael Allen.
"I knew I needed to get a couple more under (par)," Watson said. "But that three-putt kind of put a screeching halt to good things right there when I missed a short one. I used to make all the short putts and now I made a few of those. And now I have some fear, and when you fear them, you're going to miss them."
Watson, 59, got off to a roaring start with birdies at the first, third, fifth and eight holes to appear on the leaderboard for the first time all week. But the 2001 Senior PGA winner had no margin for error after failing to break par in the first three rounds (72-72-70).
He knows what hole he'd like to have over again: The par-3 ninth on Friday, when he four-putted for double bogey.
"I just wasn't close enough to the lead," Watson said. "The four-putt killed me on Friday. If I par that hole, I'm right there."