Cook birdies playoff hole to win Outback Pro-Am
LUTZ, Fla. – John Cook won the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on Sunday for his second Champions Tour victory of the year, rebounding from a double bogey on the final hole of regulation with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff against Jay Don Blake.
Cook, also the winner of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric in Hawaii, closed with a 2-over 73 to match Blake at 9-under 204. Blake birdied the final hole for a 70.
Cook hit his 175-yard approach shot into the water on the par-4 18th en route to the double bogey.
"We're not supposed to hit shots like that," Cook said. "It happens to the best of us. It's happened to everyone on the regular tour, on the Champions tour and it happened to me today."
He credited caddie Tommy Anderson for helping him regroup for the playoff on the same hole.
"Tommy has us stop when driving us down the fairway to the 18th tee so we could walk the rest of the way," Cook said. "Tommy said, 'OK, J.C., it's hole No. 1. Just refocus. Get back at it.'
"He really settled me down, and I give him a lot of credit for that. He stepped in when he needed to and that's why we've been together four years. ... I was still hot, and didn't know what to expect in the playoff, but luckily I got the chance to redeem myself."
In the playoff, Cook hit a 6-iron from 168 yards to about 6 feet to set up his winning birdie.
Blake's second shot out of a fairway bunker landed in the grenade rough.
Blake is winless since the PGA Tour's Sheraton Lehman Brothers Open.
"All this builds confidence and builds positive results," Blake said. "Keep knocking at the door and some time that door is going to open pretty wide. So, that's what we keep practicing for, to try to make it happen."
The 53-year-old Cook earned $255,000 for his seventh career Champions Tour victory. He opened with rounds of 66 and 65 at TPC Tampa Bay to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.
Joe Ozaki (68) and Russ Cochran (74) tied for third at 7 under.