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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > Champions Tour > Commerce Bank Championship > Round 3


Loren Roberts claims first victory of the season

Loren Roberts lived up to his nickname.

Known as “The Boss of the Moss” for his deft putting, Roberts made a 29-foot, double-breaking birdie putt on the par-5 17th Sunday. That put him in front by two strokes in the Commerce Bank Championship and he went on to his first Champions Tour victory of the year.

“That birdie was huge because it gave me a two-stroke lead with one tough hole left,” Roberts said. “It was a double-breaker. It started left to right then broke left at the hole.

“It seems like when you can make a bogey to win, you always do.”

Roberts did bogey the closing hole but his 3-under 68 gave him a 12-under 201 total and a one-stroke victory over Nick Price and Lonnie Nielsen.

The win in the $1.6 million event was the eighth on the Champions Tour for Roberts, the same total he had in his PGA Tour career. He has three second-place finishes on the Champions Tour this year, including last week to Jeff Sluman.

The man who got his nickname from fellow golfer David Ogrin at the 1994 U.S. Open was asked if felt any pressure since his last win came 16 events ago.

“Yes. I definitely wanted to win and I overcame it today which sometimes you can’t do,” Roberts said.

He led all the way in earning the $240,000 first prize that moved him past Scott Hoch and into third place on the money list with $1,151,093, $2,000 behind leader Jay Haas and $100,000 behind Bernhard Langer, who both skipped this event.

“It was an exciting day for me,” said the 53-year-old Roberts, who finished second in this event last year. “I really tested my mettle today. There were a lot of guys closing in and I dropped off the leaderboard for a while.”

Price, looking for his first win on this tour, matched the tournament’s low round with a 6-under 65 and finished tied for second at 11 under with Nielsen, the defending champion, who had a closing 66.

Price made three straight birdies starting at No. 14 to get within one shot but he parred the last two holes.

“Sixty-five was a good round but I though I had a 62 or 63 in me,” said Price, who played the par 5s even for the tournament. “I’m a little frustrated. I played well and didn’t win but Loren played well and with 54 holes you have to have six good nines, you can’t fiddle around and cruise.”

Nielsen, who finished two strokes in front of Roberts last year for his first Champions Tour win, made a 14-foot birdie putt on 17 to get within one, then left a 26-foot birdie putt just short on 18.

“I just didn’t hit it even after I told myself to make sure I got it there,” said Nielsen, who spent the week for the first time as defending champion. “It was so much fun coming back and reliving the memories of last year and then to play well on top of it made it all even more special.”

Sluman (66) and Gene Jones (67) were another stroke back at the 7,072-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park.

Roberts was the fourth wire-to-wire winner in this event, joining Bruce Fleisher (1999, 2000) and Ron Streck (2005).

He led by one stroke after an opening 65 and was up by two over David Eger and Scott Simpson after a second-round 68.

After bogeying No. 1 for the second straight day, a birdie at the par-5 third had Roberts in a seven-way tie for the lead until Eger birdied No. 5 with a 10-foot putt to get to 10 under.

Roberts tied Eger at 11 under with a short birdie putt on No. 11, and he took the lead for good with a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 12th, a hole Eger bogeyed.

Tim Simpson (67), Mike Goodes (68) and Scott Simpson finished at 204. Andy Bean (68), Mark McNulty (69), Fulton Allem (69) and Eger (70) were another stroke back.


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