Duffy Waldorf teed off on hole No. 10 coming off the second-best nine-hole score all year on the Champions Tour. He teed off in the lead. He teed off just nine holes from winning a major.
He started Sunday in third place, four shots off the lead, knowing he would have to play the best he had all tournament for a chance to win -- and he nearly did just that.
"I felt like I was sprinting in the mile and leading the first couple of laps," Waldorf said.
Waldorf opened by shooting a 29 on the front nine at Fox Chapel Golf Club and playing himself into a three-way race with Fred Couples and Kenny Perry. But Waldorf stumbled on the back nine, finishing third as Perry went on to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship.
"Obviously I felt I wanted to get off to the good start [Sunday] being behind," Waldorf said. "It was way better than I could've imagined."
"[Waldorf] got us going," Perry said. "It was like a dog race coming down the last nine holes. I knew it was going to take something special to win the golf tournament."
The round couldn't have started any better for Waldorf, who birdied his first two holes and began to ride the momentum he built heading into the tricky par-3 third.
Waldorf stuck the green and made the putt to birdie his first three holes and he wasn't done yet. Another birdie on the fourth positioned him within one shot of Couples, the leader at the time, at 15 under.
He birdied the seventh and ninth as well, giving him a one-stroke lead heading into No. 10.
Waldorf bogeyed the 12th, allowing Perry to take the lead at 17 under, and never led again. A bogey on No. 15 moved Waldorf two shots off the lead and he finished with a 64.
"I misread the wind a few times which led to a few bogeys with short clubs in my hand which was disappointing," Waldorf said.
If Waldorf reads the wind better, perhaps it's a different story. Perhaps he wins his first title on the Champions Tour and first tournament since the National Car Rental Golf Classic in 2000.
"All in all, it was a very good finish," Waldorf said. "Shooting 64 in the final round is pretty exciting."
Colin Montgomerie, 50, knew the Champions Tour would provide stout competition, but he didn't know just how tough it would be.
After shooting a 65 Sunday, Montgomerie finished tied for ninth at Fox Chapel.
"I've obviously a lot of work to do because the standard's very, very high," Montgomerie said. "I knew that before I came out, it's just a matter of witnessing it firsthand."
Cozy in second
Couples should be familiar by now with the feeling of finishing in second place. After all, he finished there his past three tournaments on the Champions Tour. It's the first time since 2008 a player finished second in three consecutive tournaments.
No. 8 the toughest
The most difficult hole on the course this week was No. 8, a par 4. Only 14 birdies were made on the hole and the average score was 4.484.
Meanwhile, the par-5 second was the easiest hole. Nineteen eagles and 175 birdies were made there for an average score of 4.407.mobilehome - golf
Mike Vernon: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @m_vernon. First Published July 1, 2013 4:00 AM