Ken Tanigawa sank an improbable 35-foot eagle putt on the famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links (https://www.pebblebeach.com/golf/pebble-beach-golf-links) to win the Pure Insurance Championship by one stroke over Kirk Triplett and Marco Dawson.
The 50-year-old Tanigawa, a Los Angeles native, claimed his first victory on the PGA Tour Champions in his 18th start on the senior circuit.
“Just, wow!” said Tanigawa, who played on the UCLA golf team with Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe. “I’m a little speechless right now, a lot going on. It was a hard round for me, but I fought back, and to be able to eagle the last hole, just unreal.
“I was just trying to hang in there. It was hard to play with the lead; I’ve never done it out here. I made a couple birdies early, but then I made a few bogeys and I started playing a little defensive. Then I doubled eight and I just kind of hung in there. You never know and it just happened to work out.”
Tanigawa, who played pro golf for 15 years after leaving UCLA but regained his amateur status and won the Arizona Amateur Championship in 2015 and 2017 another numerous other titles. He had to turn pro again to join the PGA Tour Champions after qualifying through tour school.
At or near the top of the leaderboard most of the way, Tanigawa finished with a score of 67-66-72—205, 10-under-par, while Triplett, who won the tournament in 2012 and 2013, birdied the last hole to finish at 68-68-70—206, while Dawson wound up at 67-68-71—206.
Triplett and Dawson seemed to be headed for a playoff until Tanigawa’s heroics.
Duffy Waldorf of Northridge and UCLA was fourth at 68-68-71—217, while Woody Austin shot 68-71-69—218 to tie for fifth with Mike Goodes, who finished at 69-68-71—218, and Tom Gillis, who wound up at 68-67-73—218.
Gary Hallberg of was eighth at 68-67-74—219, while McCarron, of Sacramento, totaled 67-74-69—220 to tie for ninth with Scott Dunlap, who came in at 71-70-69—220.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer of Germany tied for 11th at 67-76-68—221.
McCarron took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with only the SAS Championship next week remaining before the playoffs.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/champions/leaderboard.html