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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > Champions Tour > Wal-Mart First Tee Open > Round 3


Scott Simpson clinches narrow victory

Scott Simpson's experiences at the Pebble Beach Golf Links have included a medal at the state amateur tourney, playing at the national pro-am with comedian Bill Murray and shooting a final-round 88 at the U.S. Open.

Until Sunday, though, his 30-year legacy at the famed course never included a victory.

The former U.S. Open champion made an 8-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 4-under 68 Sunday and a one-stroke victory over Jay Haas and Danny Edwards at the First Tee Open.

Simpson, who began the final round trailing Tom Kite by two strokes, captured his first Champions Tour title in 25 tries with a 12-under 204 total.

"Thirty-six holes at Pebble Beach without a bogey, that's pretty cool," said Simpson, who was bogey-free in the opening and final rounds. "It's unbelievable. It's a dream come true."

Simpson, who claimed the 1987 U.S. Open with a one-stroke margin over Tom Watson at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, had to wait for a few groups, including Haas and Edwards, who both missed mid-length putts to tie for the lead.

"I was just excited to play in the tournament, let alone win it. But it was tough to make putts," Simpson said. "It got windy and the ball didn't stay where you hit it."

Simpson was a medalist at the state amateur in 1976, and has played with Murray at the early season PGA Tour event since 1993. In the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach won by Kite, Simpson began the final round in title contention but shot an 88, his worst pro round.

Edwards, who had a final-round 68, and Haas, who shot a 70, finished at 205.

"I had plenty of chances," Haas said. "I thought I had it going there for a while after a good birdie on the 14th. But the bogey on 15 just killed me."

Massy Kuramoto, who began the final round seven shots off the lead, carded a 65 for the day's best round and finished alone at 206. Kite, who had a final-round 73, and Eduardo Romero, who shot 71, were at 207.

The 50-year-old Simpson, a seven-time PGA Tour winner, joined the Champions Tour late last season and played in four events. Simpson also played in nine PGA Tour events last season and two Nationwide Tour events in 2005.

Simpson, who returned to Q-School in 2004 following five slim seasons after his last PGA Tour win in 1998, earned $300,000 -- the second-largest paycheck of his PGA Tour and Champions Tour careers.

Kuramoto, who was 7 under for the round through nine holes, briefly was tied for the lead at 10 under after nine holes but finished with nine straight pars on the back nine.

Defending champion Hale Irwin, who has won on either the PGA Tour or Champions Tour every year since 1993, shot a final-round 72 and finished at 4-under 212. Winless this season, Irwin has six tournaments remaining in the 2006 season to continue his streak.


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