Published June 30, 2013
| Sports Network
Pittsburgh, PA – Kenny Perry secured his first major title on Sunday with a 2-stroke victory at the Senior Players Championship.
Perry closed with three straight rounds in the low 60s, including Sunday's 6- under-par 64, which allowed the 52-year-old to edge overnight leader Fred Couples and Duffy Waldorf.
Couples, the 2011 champion, shot 68, while Waldorf carded a 64 at Fox Chapel Golf Club. The pair finished 72 holes at 17-under-par 263, two strokes behind Perry's winning total of 19-under 261.
"Kenny played very well and didn't make any mistakes and I sure did," Couples said after his third straight runner-up finish on the Champions Tour.
It marks the first major title for Perry, who lost to Angel Cabrera in a playoff at the 2009 Masters. The Kentucky native, a 14-time winner on the PGA Tour, now has three career Champions Tour victories.
"I just couldn't seem to get over the hump of winning a major when "major" was attached to it," said Perry, who tied for second in the Senior PGA Championship in May. "My word today was patience and I just said, 'You know what, we're going to go out and going to just focus on the shot at hand, I'm not going to look ahead, I'm not going to look behind, I'm just going to play golf and let the chips fall where they may,' and I hit it beautifully."
Michael Allen fired a 5-under 65 to move into a tie for fourth place at 12- under. He ended alongside first-round leader John Huston, who shot 68 for the second straight day.
Jeff Hart (67) and Morris Hatalsky (67) tied for sixth at 10-under, one stroke ahead of Bernhard Langer (67).
Colin Montgomerie tied for ninth in his Champions Tour debut. The World Golf Hall of Famer, who turned 50 on June 23, closed with a 5-under 65 to finish alongside Peter Senior (66), Bill Glasson (66), Corey Pavin (69) and Mark Calcavecchia (70) at 8-under.
Perry used back-to-back 63s on Friday and Saturday to get within two strokes of Couples entering the tournament's last day, while Waldorf rounded out the final group, four shots off the pace.
Waldorf was the first to strike Sunday, as he opened with four straight birdies and later added gains on Nos. 7 and 9 to reach 17-under by the turn.
Perry and Couples were a shot back, as the former played his outward nine at 3-under, with birdies on the second, fourth and seventh, and the latter had two birdies and a bogey at the par-4 eighth over that span.
Around the turn, Perry birdied the par-3 11th to reach 17-under, then found himself alone in front when Waldorf tripped to a bogey at the next hole.
Couples joined Perry at 17-under with a birdie at the 14th and both players hit within eight feet at the 15th, then missed their respective birdie putts. But as Perry sunk his par effort, Couples missed his comebacker to the left and lost his share of the lead. Waldorf also bogeyed the hole to fall two back.
"The putt on I guess it would be 15 looked so easy and I just hammered it and I kind of flinched at it coming down the hill," said Couples.
Momentum in hand, Perry dropped his approach within two feet at the par-4 16th and tapped in for birdie and a 2-shot lead. All the three players birdied the par-3 17th, with Perry again leaving himself a short tap-in.
Couples reached the green in two at the par-5 last, but his eagle putt from 45 feet went wide right and Perry comfortably parred for the victory.
Waldorf birded the last to move into a tie with Couples, who ended with a par.
NOTES: Perry claimed his first major title on the Champions Tour in his 10th appearance in a senior major ... Perry's last Champions Tour win was at the 2012 ACE Group Classic, a span of one year, four months and 11 days ... Perry finished second at the 1996 PGA Championship ... Couples' runner-up finish marked the first time since 2008 that a player finished second in three straight starts. He was second in both the Regions Tradition and Encompass Championship.