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Perry gets first Champions Tour victory



Cary, NC (Sports Network) - Kenny Perry finally collected his first Champions Tour victory on Sunday when he captured the SAS Championship.

Perry posted a two-under 70 in the final round and won the championship at 11- under 205. He earned a one-stroke victory over Jeff Sluman (70) and John Huston (71) at Prestonwood Country Club.

This was Perry's 11th start on the Champions Tour. He tried to split time this season between the elder circuit and the PGA Tour, but Perry teed it up 13 times on the PGA Tour to poor results. He made five cuts and his best finish was a tie for 38th at the Viking Classic.

Perry's last appearance on the PGA Tour was at the end of July as he's been focused on the Champions Tour.

But his focus was understandably off on Sunday. Perry found out last night that his sister, Kay, passed away at the age of 59.

"Originally wasn't even going to come today," said Perry. "When I heard the news last night, it was a long night, I didn't sleep a lot, thought about just getting on a plane and going home.

"But Dad talked me out of coming home. I wanted to come home and he talked me out of it."

Perry was able to persevere and pick up the win with his heavy heart.

"Excited to win, but I'd rather have my sister back," he said.

Last year's winner Russ Cochran shot a one-under 71 and finished fourth at minus-eight. Fred Couples carded a two-under 70 and came in fifth at seven- under 209.

Perry, Huston and Nick Price began the final round tied for the lead, but Price fell down the board early. Sluman was only one back at the start of the round and it became a race between those three.

Perry and Sluman both recorded two birdies and a bogey through the opening nine. Huston double-bogeyed the ninth to fall off the pace, but trouble loomed for Perry.

After a birdie at the par-three 11th, Perry was two shots ahead at 11-under par. He ran into nightmare of a hole at the par-five 12th and he walked off with a double-bogey.

Sluman, out in the group ahead of Perry, birdied the same hole so after Perry's disaster, Sluman was alone in the lead.

That's the way it stayed thanks to a run of pars. Perry made three in a row until a birdie at the par-four 16th tied him with Sluman, who notched his fourth consecutive par at No. 16.

Perry grabbed sole possession of the lead with long eagle putt at the par-five 17th. Sluman couldn't make up any ground with another par, but Huston, who birdied 12, also made eagle at 17.

Perry strolled to the 18th tee with a two-shot lead over Sluman and Huston. Perry drove into the rough at the last and knocked his second in a greenside bunker. He made bogey so his margin of victory was one, but it was still victory No. 1 for Perry.

"I was very calm all day, I had no nerves. Normally I'm a little jumpy, a little jittery, tense," said Perry. "Today I was just -- I felt like I was on a low, I was really down. I was kind of depressed and my swing was in rhythm, it wasn't fast and I had great control of the golf ball, all but that one golf shot."

Price struggled to a three-over 75 and tied for sixth with Jay Don Blake (70), J.L. Lewis (70) and Chien Soon Lu (70). The group finished at six-under 210.

NOTES: Perry pocketed $315,000 for the win...Next week, the Champions Tour travels to Texas for the Insperity Championship, where Couples is the defending champion.

10/02 19:21:21 ET


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