Highlighted by birdies on his last two holes, Rocco Mediate shot a final-round 64 to claim victory at the Sanford International.
Mediate entered Sunday’s finale at Minnehaha Country Club three shots off the pace of Ken Duke and Kirk Triplett, but following a flawless final round, the 56-year old Pennsylvania native held the clubhouse lead on 9-under par.
Meanwhile, Duke – who was tied for the lead on the 18th tee box, appeared headed for a playoff with Mediate, but tough breaks on both his tee and approach shots produced a pair of nasty lies, leading to a double bogey, and a two-shot surprise victory for Mediate.
“When I added them up, I went, ‘Holy crap, 64.’ That was cool,” said Mediate, who won for the first time since the 2016 Senior PGA Championship.
“It was just one of those days everything kind of went really good. When I was bad, I got it up-and-down. When I was good, I made putts. You have to do this crazy stuff. Putted my you-know-what off today, but I hit a lot of good shots, too. I hit a lot of green, kept my head together and here we are.”
With a double-bogey finish, Duke signed for a 69 to fall into a into a three-way tie for second-place at 7-under par, alongside Bob Estes (67) and Colin Montgomerie (67).
“I hit a good tee shot and it just kicked hard right into the rough a foot and I had a horrible lie,” said Duke, 50. “Then, I hit the shot up here and I thought it was in a seam of sod, but he said there was no sod, nothing sodded. It was probably one of the worst lies I’ve ever had sitting down.
“I mean, then what are you going to do after that? Nothing you can do about it. I played good. Thanks for all the people that came out and it was great to be here.”
Jay Haas (66) and Steve Flesch (68) finished tied for fifth-place at 6-under par.
Name: Rocco Anthony Mediate
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 190 lb
Birthdate: Dec 17, 1962 (age 56)
Native: Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Resides: Naples, Florida
College: Florida Southern College
Final Scores: Top 5
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Rocco Mediate -9 (-6)
2. Bob Estes -7 (-3)
2. Colin Montgomerie -7 (-3)
2. Ken Duke -7 (-1)
5. Jay Haas -6 (-4)
5. Steve Flesch -6 (-2)
Top-3 Check Cashers
- Mediate – $270,000
- Estes – $132,000
- Montgomerie – $132,000
- Duke – $132,000
Mediate’s Winning Stats
Driving: 293.7 yards (39th)
Greens: 41/54, 75.9% (10th)
Fairways: 18/39, 46.2% (63rd)
Putts/GIR: 73/1.780 (18th)
Mediate’s 2019 Champions Tour Season
Wins: 1 (Sanford International)
Addtl Top 10s: 1 (Mitsubishi Classic)
Chas Schwab Cup: 23rd
“Yeah, I made two really good putts. I three-putted the last green last week at — I say Buick, but Ally. I keep saying Buick Open because that’s where we were. My buddy, Brian Julian, was with me and he’s from Greensboro. We played golf together for 30, 40 years. He texted me that night and he goes, hey. I three-putted from like 40 feet, but I missed my — it was a sliced putt and I missed my line to the right, three-putted. That didn’t really — but still you’re mad because you played a good round. He called and he goes, “Looks like you’re holding onto it. Let it go a little bit in the left-to-righters.
“What did I have on 17 and 18 today? Slice putts. So I made some good ones this week but nothing — obviously they’re all big, but those last two were slice putts and I had — I hit my lines. Whether I read them or not is a different story. Obviously I read them right fortunately, but I hit my lines. That’s how weird stuff is. If he doesn’t say that, I may not make those two, I don’t know, I don’t know. So it’s interesting how things happen.”
– Rocco Mediate, 2019 Sanford International Champion