Cochran bests Funk in playoff|
Songdo, South Korea (Sports Network) - Russ Cochran birdied the first playoff
hole Sunday to defeat Fred Funk and win the Posco E&C Songdo Championship.
Cochran earned his first Champions Tour victory after winning Rookie of the
Year honors last season. He will also forever have his name in the history
books as he won the first PGA Tour sanctioned event in Asia.
"What an honor to come over here and come out with the victory," said Cochran
in a televised interview. "It's a great thing. I don't win a lot. It's
Cochran only won once on the PGA Tour and that came at the 1991 Western Open.
He probably shouldn't have won on Sunday.
Cochran was tied for the lead with Funk at 12-under par when the two were on
the 18th hole. Cochran drove into a bunker on the left and was forced to lay
up at the par-five hole. Funk was in the fairway off the tee, but pulled his
second shot slightly left of the green.
After Cochran's lay up, he knocked his third 10 feet short of the hole. Funk
managed to get his third to three feet. Cochran did not convert on his birdie
effort and that opened the door for Funk. But Funk's three-foot putt for the
win never hit the hole and it was off to a playoff.
"It's very tough," said Cochran of Funk's putt. "That's one he'll be upset
Cochran signed for his six-under 66 and Funk for his four-under 68. The two
finished at 12-under 204 and were back off to the 18th tee at Jack Nicklaus
Golf Club Korea to begin the extra session.
Funk, who won the Tradition last month, had the honor and might have felt a
little anger over the hiccup a few minutes earlier. Funk, one of the most
accurate but shortest hitters in golf, hammered his ball down the fairway
while Cochran elected to hit a hybrid club off the tee. He found the short
grass, but his three-wood approach landed in a greenside bunker left.
Funk had only 165 yards to the front of the green, but his second came up
short in a sand trap.
Cochran hit a spectacular bunker shot that rolled within two feet. Funk
chunked his shot from the sand and didn't even make the green. He tried to
hole his chip from just off the putting surface and it nearly grazed the side
of the hole, but ultimately ran four feet by the cup.
Funk made his par putt, then Cochran kicked in his short birdie effort for the
win. He pocketed $450,000 for the victory, which was the largest first-place
check this year on the Champions Tour.
Tom Pernice, Jr. had a five-under 67 on Sunday and took third at minus-11.
Joe Ozaki (67) and D.A. Weibring (69) shared fourth place at eight-under 208,
while Mark Calcavecchia's three-under 69 gave him sixth place at seven-
Cochran and Funk were tied after a two-shot swing at the fourth and an eight-
foot birdie putt from Cochran at the fifth. Both players birdied six and seven
and it was another two-shot swing at the 10th that gave Funk the lead on his
own at 12-under par.
That two-shot lead didn't last one hole. Funk three-putted for bogey from 25
feet at the 11th and Cochran drained a nine-foot birdie putt to match him in
first at 11-under par.
The pair birdied 16 to stay tied for the lead, but it looked like Cochran
would move in front at the par-three 17th. Cochran hit a great tee ball that
nearly ran in the hole, but finally stopped five feet from the flagstick. He
missed the birdie try, but eventually won after the first playoff hole.
Tim Simpson (69), John Cook (72) and Michael Allen (71) tied for seventh place
NOTES: Bernhard Langer, the leading money winner on the Champions Tour,
struggled to an eight-over 80 on Sunday and fell into a tie for 42nd at plus-
six...The Champions Tour returns in two weeks for the SAS Championship, which
was won last year by Pernice.
09/12 03:05:26 ET