Rocco Mediate fired a final round -1 under par 71 on Sunday to win his first tournament on the Champions Tour at The Allianz Championship. After shooting a course record 61 on Saturday, the 50 year old rookie held on for the two shot win over veterans Tom Pernice Jr, and Bernhard Langer at the Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Florida.
Mediate, who is from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and turned pro in 1985, had an up and down final round, picking up bogeys at the ninth, and 14th holes before getting a birdie at the eighteenth hole to post a -17 total for the week. Rocco had an unbelievable second round on Saturday where he put up eight birdies, and eagle three on the final hole for his first Senior win.
Bernhard Langer put the best effort in trying catch the leader with a -4 under 68, but came up two strokes short. Langer got off to a good start in the final round with four birdies in the first five holes, but couldn’t find any magic on the back nine. He picked up his only bogey of the day at 17, before ending with birdie at 18.
Rocco Mediate disappeared from golf headlines after his infamous duel with Tiger Woods at the 2008 US Open. With Tiger making an unbelievable putt on the 18th green at Torrey Pines to force a Monday playoff where Woods eventually prevailed. It was one of the best rounds of golf I had ever seen, I rank it up there with the 1980 US Open where an unknown Isao Aoki went head to head with Jack Nicklaus at Baltusrol.
The battle with a limping Tiger Woods put Rocco at the top of my favorite golfers list. He handled the challenge, and defeat with total professionalism. It was Tiger’s last major championship, and ended his 2008 season to a knee operation.
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