Friday, November 17, 2017
Golf

Colin Montgomerie wins Champions event in Japan

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CHIBA, Japan — Colin Montgomerie made all the putts he needed Sunday on Narita Golf Club's massive greens to win the Japan Airlines Championship, the first Champions Tour event in Japan.

The 54-year-old Scot two-putted for par from 50 feet on the par-4 18th, hitting his first to 11/2 feet, for 5-under 67 and a one-stroke victory over Billy Mayfair and second-round leader Scott McCarron.

"The greens were as good as any, and I mean this, as good as any as we have ever putted on, ever," Montgomerie said. "And we've putted on some great, great surfaces. In the 30 years as a pro, these are as good as any we have putted on as a putting surface. Superb putting surfaces. And the way the course was manicured was exceptional."

Montgomerie finished at 14-under 202 for his fifth victory on the 50-and-over tour and first in nearly a year. He won 31 times on the European Tour and topped the tour's money list a record eight times, seven in a row from 1993-99 and the last in 2005.

"It's a big deal, a very big deal," Montgomerie said about tour's first visit to Japan. "And let's hope that the success of this event goes forward and not only allows the PGA Tour Champions to come back and compete but also allows the PGA Tour to come and play here. It will be fantastic if that time ever comes."

Montgomerie ran in a 60-footer on the par-4 13th in the middle of a three-hole birdie spree and made two key 6-foot putts, the first for par on the par-3 16th and the second for birdie on the par-5 17th to break a tie for the lead with Mayfair.

"I think when I holed the putt on the 14th hole for my third birdie in a row, I felt that I had a chance then," Montgomerie said.

Mayfair, playing two groups ahead of Montgomerie, settled for 66 after missing a 6-foot birdie try on 18. McCarron birdied the final two holes for 71. He opened with a double bogey.

WALKER CUP: Pac-12 golfers Norman Xiong and Collin Morikawa won their foursomes match in Los Angeles to remain undefeated and help the United States move to the cusp of reclaiming the amateur trophy from Britain and Ireland. The United States took an 11-5 lead into the deciding afternoon singles matches. It needs 13½ points to reclaim the cup.

PGA EUROPE: Matthew Fitzpatrick made a safe par 4 on the third extra hole to win the European Masters in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, after firing 6-under 64 to force a playoff. Scott Hend, who had led after three rounds, made a ragged bogey at the 18th hole on the scenic Swiss Alps course. Both carded 14-under totals of 266.

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