Steve Flesch lost his focus when he realized he had a two-stroke lead with two holes to play at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas.
That momentary lapse cost him a stroke, but not his second PGA Tour win.
Even after missing the 17th green with an approach shot from the middle of the fairway and needing two chips before making bogey, Flesch won the Colonial on Sunday with an 11-under 269 total, one stroke ahead of Chad Campbell.
Flesch was the only golfer with four straight rounds in the 60s. The left-hander’s closing 3-under 67 came on his 37th birthday.
A week after withdrawing from the Byron Nelson Championship because of a sore back and mental fatigue, Flesch was feeling fine, wearing the winner’s plaid jacket at Hogan’s Alley.
“I wouldn’t change the way any of it worked out,” Flesch said. “I was tired from playing so many events. Physically, I think I can play every week but mentally, I can’t. That’s the best decision I’ve made all year.”
Flesch also got a $954,000 winner’s check – the biggest in his seven PGA Tour seasons – and moved to ninth in the Ryder Cup standings.
Flesch, having already missed three birdie chances of 5 feet or less, curled in a 16-footer at the 188-yard 16th hole. He was in the middle of the 17th fairway at 12 under, two strokes ahead of Campbell.
But he missed the green, and left his chip in the rough. Once Flesch got on the putting surface, he sank a 5-footer to salvage bogey. He recovered with a closing par.
“I hit it so well, it would have been a shame not to win,” Flesch said. “This is a ballstrikers’ course. It’s not a power course. If I had a chance, it was here.”
Flesch’s other win came at the 2003 HP Classic of New Orleans. He had two top-10 finishes in his first 15 tournaments this year, including a tie for fifth at the Wachovia Championship before withdrawing last week.
Campbell, who charged into a tie for the lead with a course record-tying 61 Saturday, couldn’t take advantage of Flesch’s mistake. At No. 16, he rolled a 13-foot birdie putt 3 feet past, then bogeyed 17 after his approach landed in a greenside bunker.
Campbell made a 5-foot birdie putt at the 433-yard 18th to finish alone in second after a closing 68.
Stephen Ames’ 64, the best round of the day, put him in third place at 271.
Sherri Steinhauer, A 19-year LPGA Tour veteran, shot a 2-under 69 to win the Sybase Classic at New Rochelle, N.Y., by two strokes.
It was Steinhauer’s sixth career victory and the first since 1999, when she won this tournament and the British Open. She tied for the lead on Saturday with an eagle on the closing par-5.
Grace Park, who took over the money lead from Annika Sorenstam, was second after a 68, while Becky Morgan, who had a four-shot lead after 36 holes, had a 1-over 72 and was at 275. Morgan was 13 under and had a three-shot lead through six holes but didn’t have another birdie.
At West Des Moines, Iowa, D.A. Weibring capped a solid three days of golf by shooting an even-par 71 in blustery, overcast conditions to win the Allianz Championship by three strokes.
The Quincy, Ill., native survived an early double bogey and challenges by Tom Watson and Tom Kite to win for the second time on the Champions Tour. His fifth victory in the Midwest was worth $225,000 and came two days short of his 51st birthday.
Weibring finished at 9-under 204, his fifth top 10 finish in six tournaments.
Tom Jenkins closed with a 70 to finish at 6 under. Watson was next at 5 under, and Kite had a 72 to finish 4 under.
At St. Leon-Rot, Germany, South Africa’s Trevor Immelman birdied the final hole and beat defending champion Padraig Harrington by a stroke to win the Deutsche Bank Open.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.