Joe Durant birdied the final two holes — and got some help from Madison resident Steve Stricker — to win the Champions Tour Chubb Classic on Sunday in Naples, Florida.
Durant shot a 5-under 67 for a four-stroke victory over Stricker, David Toms, Lee Janzen, Billy Mayfair and Tim Petrovic.
“I was nervous starting out, and I missed short putts early,” said Durant, 53. “But I kept grinding, kept telling myself that if I could just steady myself, hit some quality shots, the putts would start to go.”
Tied with Durant with two holes left, Stricker dropped a stroke back when Durant birdied the par-5 17th. On the par-4 18th, Stricker hit into the water and made a double bogey for a three-shot swing.
“Not my favorite pin in the world on the right side and the right-to-left wind, and I tried to hold it off and pushed it a little bit,” Stricker said. “He hit a great shot in there, forced me to try to go right straight at it, and I didn’t pull it off.”
Durant closed with a 15-footer to finish at 19-under 197. He was safely on the 18th green when Stricker — needing birdie to tie — hit into the water.
“Joe hit some great shots when he had to, put the pressure on all of us when it mattered most,” Stricker said. “He played great.”
The 50-year-old Stricker shot 70. He made his first start of the year on the senior tour after playing six tournaments last year — a runner-up finish in his debut along with three third-place ties.
“The par-5s killed me today,” Stricker said. “I eagled the first one, and then I was in great position on every other one and walked away with pars on all of them. That was really the difference.”
Madison’s Jerry Kelly tied for 36th place after shooting a 68. He finished at 5-under 211.
Bubba Watson ended two years without winning with his third victory at Riviera.
Watson seized control with two par putts as everyone around him was dropping shots, then pulled ahead by holing a bunker shot on the par-3 14th.
He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory in the Genesis Open over Kevin Na and Tony Finau in Los Angeles. Watson finished at 12-under 272.
Jin Young Ko shot a 3-under par 69 to clinch a three-shot victory at the Women’s Australian Open in Adelaide.
Ko finished with a 14-under 274 total.