Champions Golf Tour
Watson tops Eger in Senior PGA playoff



Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Tom Watson birdied the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat David Eger and win the 72nd Senior PGA Championship.

Watson managed a two-under 70 in the final round, while Eger fired a five- under 67. They ended at 10-under-par 278.

The duo returned to the 18th hole at Valhalla Golf Club for the extra session. Watson was in the fairway off the tee, while Eger had an awkward stance in the rough next to a bunker.

Watson's approach to the par-five came up short in a bunker. Eger laid up in the first cut, then played his third to nine feet. Watson blasted out to three feet.

Eger, who teamed with Mark McNulty to earn his fourth Champions Tour title earlier this year, missed his birdie effort just right of the hole. He tapped in for par.

Watson made sure there wouldn't be another hole. He rammed his three-footer for birdie right in the middle of the cup to win the Senior PGA Championship for the second time.

"Pretty good for an old geezer," Watson joked in a television interview. "This is what I'm out here to do -- compete, try to win and put myself in position to win. Today, it was a struggled, but I made a couple of key putts on the back nine, three to be exact.

"Then, I missed one here (at 18), and I made one here too. I played well for most of the week. Let's come back to Valhalla, I have a good track record here."

In four PGA Championships (two Senior, two regular) at Valhalla, Watson has three top 10s and his worst finish was a tie for 17th at the 1996 PGA Championship.

It was Watson's 14th victory on the senior circuit and his sixth major championship title on the Champions Tour. The 61-year-old Watson became the second-oldest winner of this championship.

Kiyoshi Murota and Hale Irwin shared the third-round lead. Murota birdied the final hole to post an even-par 72, which left him alone in third at minus- nine. Irwin stumbled to a one-over 73 to end one shot further back at eight- under-par 280.

Watson and Eger were battling for the lead on the back nine and both had their problems.

Eger, playing two groups ahead of Watson, birdied the 15th to go one up on Watson, who had to scramble to save par on the 14th. Watson responded with a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on 15.

The 59-year-old Eger missed the 16th green and that led to a bogey. That bogey, along with Watson's birdie on 15, meant Eger went from one ahead to one behind.

However, he quickly bounced back with an eight-foot birdie putt on the 17th to again forge a tie. At the 18th in regulation, Eger had five feet for birdie, but pulled the putt left. He was in at 10-under and had to wait on Watson.

Watson was inside 20 feet for birdie on 16, but was unable to convert. His long birdie effort on the 17th slid by the left edge, so it came down to the 18th.

Watson knocked his second over the green and pitched to about four feet. Like Eger, Watson was unable to convert the short birdie putt and it was back to the 18th for the playoff.

Murota and Irwin could have joined the playoff with an eagle at the last, but neither could convert their chip shots.

Watson bogeyed the first, but came right back with a birdie on the second. He was two strokes back at that point and he remained there until he birdied the seventh.

The leaders fell back to Watson, but he tripped to another bogey on the ninth to slip to minus-eight. He regained a piece of the lead with an 11-foot birdie putt on No. 10. From there, it was all Eger and Watson.

Eger was on fire right from the start. He birdied the first and second to move to seven-under. Birdies at seven and 10 gave Eger a piece of the lead.

He battled Watson over the last five holes despite his bogey on the 16th, which was his first bogey in 28 holes.

"Given the circumstances of being semi-in-contention going into the last round, I certainly thought 11-or-12-under would be the (winning) number," Eger said in a television interview before the playoff. "It was a difficult day. But I'm very, very pleased regardless of what comes out of this."

NOTES: This was the fourth consecutive playoff on the Champions Tour and the second straight year this event needed extra holes to determine a winner...Eger's 67 was the low round of the day...Only 18 players broke par in the final round, while 21 players finished the week in red figures...The Champions Tour heads to Iowa next week for the Principal Charity Classic, where Nick Price is the defending champion.

05/29 19:38:20 ET