Perry cruises to ACE Group victory
Naples, FL – Kenny Perry shot a two-under 70 on Sunday, a shot victory at the ACE Group Classic.
Perry finished at 20-under-par 196, tying the tournament record set by Bernhard Langer last year. He earned the second Champions Tour victory of his career, with the first coming at the 2011 SAS Championship.
Perry said that because of stiff breezes on the course, he knew he had his hands full.
"My goal was just to par every hole," Perry said. "My target score was pars, and if I could sneak a birdie in there every now and then, hopefully they draw interest, kind of hang on to them."
Langer came in a distant second on Sunday at the Talon Course at TwinEagles Golf Club. He finished at 15-under 201 after also carding a 70.
Reigning Champions Tour Player of the Year Tom Lehman (72) tied for third at 14-under 202. He shared that place with Bill Glasson (68) and Mike Goodes (69).
Perry had taken a substantial 36-hole lead by pouring in birdie after birdie. He totaled 20 during his first two rounds, including 11 on Saturday, against just two bogeys.
His progress was a little slower Sunday, but he essentially wrapped up his victory with a clean front nine. He made birdies at three, six and eight, and made the turn at 21-under-par.
"I've got to credit a lot of my success this week to the front nine getting me off to such a great start," Perry said.
That gave him enough breathing room to make a few mistakes on the back nine, and Perry did, but they didn't put him in danger. After he bogeyed the 10th, Perry got the shot back with a birdie at 13. He concluded his round with a bogey at the last.
Langer didn't get close to challenging Perry's lead Sunday, especially because he had to make his way back from bogeys at the second and third. He got those shots back with consecutive birdies at seven and eight, but didn't get into red numbers again until an eagle at No. 17. By the end of the tournament, that was only good enough for second place.
While Perry finished with a five-shot victory, he didn't hold the lead after the first round. Larry Mize did after opening with a 62, but he shot a 67 on Saturday and was three shots behind Perry entering the final round.
A poor back nine ensured that Mize fell down the leaderboard Sunday. He did card a birdie at the sixth, but around the turn, he posted a double-bogey at 11 and a bogey at 13. He had two birdies in his next four holes, but closed with a triple-bogey and finished in seventh place at 12-under 204.
NOTES: Perry has also won 14 times on the PGA Tour...Last week's winner of the Allianz Championship, Corey Pavin, shot a 74 on Sunday and finished in a tie for 50th at even-par 216...The Champions Tour resumes play with the Toshiba Classic on the weekend of March 16-18. Nick Price earned a one-shot win over Mark Wiebe last year.