Colin Montgomerie posted a final-round 5-under 67 at Narita Golf Club to edge Billy Mayfair (67) and Scott McCarron (71) by a stroke and win the inaugural Japan Airlines Championship.
Monty birdied six of his final 11 holes to complete his three-shot comeback victory over the white-hot 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 Champions Tour victory, and a $400,000 winner’s check.
Mayfair started the day at T10 and five shots behind 36-hole leader McCarron. He birdied four of his first six holes and took a solo lead at 12 under after a birdie on No. 10. He missed a six-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him a 14-under total.
With the T2 finish, McCarron gained $200,000 on the idle Bernhard Langer. He is second in the Schwab Cup standings with $2,267,585 and trails Langer by $327,050.
For the season, McCarron has four wins, three runner-up finishes and 10 top-10s.
Both McCarron and Langer are scheduled to compete in this week’s Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship in Victoria, British Columbia.
Glen Day (67) was alone in fourth at 12 under. Kevin Sutherland struggled to a 72 and finished T5 with Jesper Parnevik (67) at 11 under.
FINAL TOP 5
1 Colin Montgomerie -14
T2 Billy Mayfair -13
T2 Scott McCarron -13
4 Glen Day -12
T5 Jesper Parnevik -11
T5 Kevin Sutherland -11
THE WINNER’S PHOTO
QUOTABLE: COLIN MONTGOMERIE
“Well, I feel very honored to come here as part of the PGA TOUR Champions and to win the inaugural Japan Airlines Championship. This is the first time that the PGA Tour have played in the mainland of Japan and it’s a big deal, a very big deal. And let’s hope that the success of this event, and I mean 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 and let’s hope it does.”
FINAL SCORES: JAPAN AIRLINES CHAMPIONSHIP
|T24||Wes Short Jr.||-6||$24,438|
|T34||Jong Duck Kim||-3||$15,050|
|T39||Tom Pernice, Jr.||-2||$12,250|
|T44||Tommy Armour III||-1||$9,500|
|50||Jay Don Blake||E||$7,750|
Credit: PGA TOUR MEDIA, GETTY IMAGES