Dawson earns first Champions Tour win

Tucson, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Marco Dawson closed with a 3-under 69 en route to winning the inaugural Tucson Conquistadores Classic on Sunday.

Dawson, who was the only player with three rounds in the 60s, ended at 13- under-par 203. This was his first Champions Tour title.

"It's great. I'm just thinking about all the work that I've put in over the years, especially the last few years, more mental work than anything," Dawson said. "It seems to have paid off. I'm just glad I played the game I want to today. Win or lose, I played the way I wanted to play."

Bart Bryant carded a 2-under 70 in the final round to end alone in second place at minus-11. Mark O'Meara fired a 6-under 66 on the Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National Resort to jump into third place at 10-under-par 206.

Tom Pernice, Jr. (68) and Wes Short, Jr. (72) shared fourth place at minus-9. Scott Hoch and Jeff Sluman both shot 67 in the final round. They tied for sixth at 8-under 208 with Russ Cochran (68).

Short was in control early thanks to three birdies in the first four holes. However, he lost his tee shot in the trees at the fifth and that led to a triple-bogey.

Dawson tripped to a bogey at the first, but came right back with a birdie at the par-5 second. After a pair of pars, Dawson rolled in a 10-footer for birdie on the fifth. He made it two in a row as he also birdied the sixth.

"Well, I didn't start off real hot, but, you know, in years past I might have gotten a little anxious or whatever you want to call it where I get out of sorts with making bogey on the first hole, but I kind of calmed down and thought about it," Dawson said.

Bryant, who was in the final group with Dawson, birdied the second and fifth. His third birdie of the round came at the seventh and that moved Bryant into a tie for the lead with Dawson at 12-under. Bryant slipped one back with a bogey on the ninth.

Short was one back at the turn after birdies at eight and nine. But he dropped a shot at 10, and closed with a double-bogey to fall down the leaderboard.

That setup a 2-man battle between Dawson and Bryant on the back nine. Dawson converted a birdie effort at the 10th to move to 13-under. Bryant responded with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 11 to inch within one.

The 13th was key for Bryant. He had another 4-footer for birdie, and a share of the lead, but his putt lipped out. Dawson stumbled to a bogey at 15 to dip into a tie for the lead.

Dawson rolled in an 18-footer for birdie at 16, while Bryant slipped two back after stumbling to a bogey there. They both parred the final two holes.

"I didn't hit my irons as good as I need to, but, you know, Marco played good and it's a tough course to bring it home on because you have a few white knuckle shots," said Bryant. "So I give him all the credit, he handled it better than we did. I missed a short putt, and then I drove it in the bunker which is the name of the game for me, I've got to keep it in play. But he birdied that 16th hole, was a great birdie and he deserved to win today."

NOTES: This was Dawson's first win since the 2002 LaSalle Bank Open on the Web.com Tour ... Dawson earned $255,000 for the victory ... Dawson follows Lee Janzen as the second straight first-time winner on the Champions Tour ... Jesper Parnevik closed with a 1-under 71 and tied for 41st in his Champions Tour debut ... The tour shifts to Mississippi next week for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, where Jeff Maggert will defend his title.