Romero wins tight Toshiba Classic|
Newport Beach, CA (Sports Network) - Eduardo Romero shot a three-under 68 on
Sunday to win the Toshiba Classic by one shot over Mark O'Meara and Joey
Romero scrambled for a bogey at the 18th hole to secure his fifth Champions
Tour win and fourth since the beginning of last season.
The 54-year-old Argentine, a prodigious winner in Latin America and two-time
major champion on the over-50 circuit, finished the tournament at 11-under 202
and won $255,000.
O'Meara, who shared the overnight lead with 2008 champion Bernhard Langer,
managed only a one-under 70 as he tried for his first Champions Tour win. The
1998 Masters and British Open champion birdied the 18th to salvage a second-
place tie with Sindelar at 10-under 203.
Sindelar fired an eight-under 63 for the best round of the tournament. His
chances of climbing into a playoff increased as Romero struggled at the
relatively easy par-five 18th, then vanished when Romero made his bogey.
Still, it marked the best-ever finish on the Champions Tour for Sindelar, who
was seven shots off the lead when he started the round. Sindelar laughed when
asked if he had a winning score in mind at the beginning of the day.
"To win? I was thinking so I didn't get yelled at by my caddie for yesterday's
round," joked Sindelar, who was tied for 24th place after shooting a 72 on
"Today was one of those fun days," he added. "It just kept getting better."
It was less fun for the overnight leaders, O'Meara and Langer, who struggled
in different ways Sunday.
O'Meara labored to make anything other than a par on the Newport Beach Country
Club course. He had an early birdie at No. 4, a bogey at the 12th that dropped
him two shots off the lead, and his closing birdie at the 18th.
In between, O'Meara collected 15 pars.
"Poor Mark. He putted terrible today," said Romero, who played in the same
group with O'Meara and Langer. "On [these] greens is very difficult to read
the line, and he putted bad today, but he played good. He played good. I'm
very happy to see Mark come into the top position, because he's a nice man, a
Langer, meanwhile, bogeyed the first two holes and never recovered. He had
four bogeys overall -- and just two birdies -- to shoot a 73 that dropped him
into a share of ninth place at seven-under 206.
Romero, sitting in third place when the round began, opened with two
consecutive birdies Sunday. But he bogeyed two holes later on to cancel them
His real move came between the 10th and 12th holes, where he made three
straight birdies to take a one-shot lead.
A four-foot birdie putt at the 10th and a six-footer at the 11th moved Romero
into a four-way tie for the lead. Then, he moved in front with an approach
shot to tap-in range at the 12th.
Romero made another short birdie putt at the 15th to double his lead to two
shots, and his closing bogey only served to trim his winning margin.
Afterward, Romero stated what everyone else already knew: the tournament was
won on the back nine.
"I played good on the front nine, but [I lose] concentration sometimes," said
Romero. "I'm talking to my caddie after nine holes and say, 'We have to wake
up. We can win the tournament, but not like this.'
"Then [it] started with three birdies in a row. And then I [watched] Mark
O'Meara and the other guys (stumble) on the front. But I played very solid all
Fred Funk (69) shared fourth place with Tim Simpson (67), David Eger (68), Tom
Jenkins (69) and Denis Watson (70) at eight-under 205. Bobby Wadkins (68) and
Jeff Sluman (69) joined Langer at 206.
03/08 21:37:47 ET