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Triplett rallies to win First Tee Open
Pebble Beach, CA (Sports Network) - Kirk Triplett closed with a 6-under 66 to come from behind and win the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday.
Triplett finished at 10-under 206 to win by two strokes for his first title on the Champions Tour. He has also won on the PGA Tour and the Web.com Tour.
"Just to win is special, but to win at Pebble Beach that's really something for me. It's always been one of my favorite places to play. I've probably played 50 professional golf tournaments here," Triplett said in a televised interview.
"I always come and play here, and to do it in my first try on the Champions Tour is great."
Mark McNulty posted a 3-under 69 to take second place at minus-8. McNulty's amateur partner birdied the final hole to give their team the Pro-Junior title.
The first two rounds were split over Pebble Beach and Del Monte as the Champions Tour players competed alongside juniors from the First Tee program. The top 23 juniors after the second round played the final round at Pebble Beach alongside their Champions Tour counterparts.
Jay Haas and Bill Glasson both carded 3-under 69s on Sunday to end alongside Brad Bryant (74) in third at 6-under 210.
Bryant, who tied for second with Jay Haas and David Eger last year, shared the lead entering the final round with Tom Kite. Kite, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, struggled to a 4-over 76 in the final round and tied for ninth at minus-4.
Triplett got off to a flying start with an eagle on the par-5 second. He came right back with a birdie on No. 3.
The 50-year-old birdied the par-3 seventh from 10 feet away, giving him a share of the lead with Gary Hallberg at 8-under. Hallberg birdied four of the first six holes to get to minus-8, but dropped four strokes in a six-hole span on the back nine.
Triplett birdied the ninth to grab a 1-stroke lead and pushed it to three with a four-foot birdie putt on the 11th.
At the par-3 12th, Triplett found a bunker off the tee and was unable to get up and down for par, dropping his lead back to one.
Triplett parred his next three holes, a stretch that included a difficult up- and-down par on the par-5 14th.
"That's one of the hardest holes in the country, in the world probably. It always has been and it doesn't matter if the greens are hard or soft. I made it even harder today by driving it in the rough," Triplett said in a TV interview. "I knew what I had to do."
Triplett missed the green at the par-4 16th, but chipped in for birdie to push his lead back to three. He closed with a pair of pars to earn his first tour title.
McNulty birdied the second, but dropped shots on the third and fifth. He came back with birdies on six and seven to get to 6-under. McNulty birdied the 10th and 16th to end two back.
Hallberg shot a 1-under 71 to end alongside Mark Brooks (70) and 2005 champion Hale Irwin (69) in sixth place at 5-under-par 211.
Kite was joined in ninth place by Corey Pavin (72), last year's champion Jeff Sluman (67) and Peter Senior (73).
NOTES: Triplett earned $255,000. His win from the third-to-last group was the first victory from outside the final group since Sluman's win last year...The tour heads to Michigan next week for the U.S. Senior Open Championship, where Olin Browne is the defending champion.
07/08 22:32:24 ET
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