Montgomerie Claims Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship on Third Playoff Hole

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Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, the 2016 Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship winner (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

September 25, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie made a 15-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole of the Mountain Course Sunday evening to claim the inaugural Pacific Links Bear Mountain Championship, securing his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and sending California’s Scott McCarron, who led for most of the tournament, home with a second place finish.

Colin Montgomerie hits a crucial bunker shot on the 18th hole in regulation Sunday. Montgomerie would save his par, forcing a playoff as a result (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Colin Montgomerie hits a crucial bunker shot on the 18th hole in regulation Sunday. Montgomerie would save his par, forcing a playoff as a result (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

McCarron held a one-stroke lead on the final hole of regulation, but after missing the fairway with his drive, was forced to take an unplayable lie.  He landed on the green in four and then narrowly missed a par putt that would have given him the title, but instead, sent he and Montgomerie to a playoff at 15-under-par.

Scott McCarron reacts after narrowly missing a par put on 18 that would have given him the championship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Scott McCarron reacts after narrowly missing a par put on 18 that would have given him the championship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Montgomerie also had some work to do in regulation to force the playoff, as he shorted his approach shot on the 18th hole into the front trap and then made a great bunker shot to get up and down for his par.

With a gaggle of blue-jacketed volunteers and marshalls behind him, Scott McCarron hits his approach shot into the 18th green (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With a gaggle of blue-jacketed volunteers and marshalls behind him, Scott McCarron hits his approach shot into the 18th green (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After the first two playoff holes solved nothing, on the third, McCarron landed his approach shot short of the green and had to chip on from the fringe for an up and down to save par.  Montgomerie meanwhile, landed his approach on the right fringe and then calmly drained the birdie putt for the win.

Colin Montgomerie reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the third playoff hole to win the Pacific Links Championship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Colin Montgomerie reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the third playoff hole to win the Pacific Links Championship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Montgomerie started the day three strokes behind McCarron, but birdies on three of the first four holes cut the deficit to just one. He gained a share of the lead on No. 5 when McCarron made bogey, and he took his first solo lead when he birdied No. 10.  Montgomerie made his only bogey of the tournament on the 12th hole Sunday, ending a streak of 47 bogey-free holes and the two would remain tied until 17 when McCarron got up-and-down for birdie on the short par-4 17th, taking the one-stroke lead to the 18th tee and setting the stage for the four holes of drama that followed.

Fred Funk acknowledges the crowd on his approach to the 18th green. Funk shot a 64 Sunday to finish 10th overall (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Fred Funk acknowledges the crowd on his approach to the 18th green. Funk shot a 64 Sunday to finish 10th overall (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“My game plan was obviously to catch as quick as possible and that’s what was achieved,” said Montgomerie after his win. “Scott made a mistake at the third when he three-putted and I happened to birdie and there was a two-shot swing. And then we were tied all of a sudden, so that was great to get early on. And then I just had ample opportunities – 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 – my only bogey of the week was the easiest hole on the course, the 12th, for goodness sake. And then chances at 16, 17, 18 here, just didn’t go in. And then you end up in a playoff and again, how many chances can one have? Another two chances in the playoff that didn’t go in, and you think ‘Oh for God’s sake, the bloody hell again.’ And then eventually, thank God, one finally goes in.  As I said in my [trophy acceptance] speech, that was the only one my caddie read all week. I should have used him earlier, we would have finished much sooner!”

Tom Kite take his approach shot into the 18th green during Sunday's final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Tom Kite take his approach shot into the 18th green during Sunday’s final round (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In addition to Montgomerie’s and McCarron’s back and forth battle, two other notables – Miguel Angel Jiminez and Bernhard Langer made runs at the leaders on Sunday.

Jiminez established a new course record of 61 – also the lowest round on the tour this season – but pars on his final four holes meant he finished at 13-under-par, in third place, two strokes back.

Miguel Angel Jiminez would set a course record 61 on Sunday, boosting him into third place overall with a score of 13-under-par (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Miguel Angel Jiminez would set a course record 61 on Sunday, boosting him into third place overall with a score of 13-under-par (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Langer meanwhile had a scorching start to the day, opening the front nine with a 28.  He then birdied 10 and 12 and was 9-under-par on the day through 12 holes, pulling to within one stroke of the lead at 13-under-par. However, he bladed his approach shot over the green on the par-5 13th, leading to a double bogey and settled for a score of 63 overall and in a tie for 7th place at 12-under-par.

With recovery shots like these - this one on hole two ended up five feet from the pin - Germany's Bernhard Langer got back into contention Sunday, with a score of 28 on the front nine, finishing with a 63 and 7th place finish (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With recovery shots like these – this one on hole two ended up five feet from the pin – Germany’s Bernhard Langer got back into contention Sunday, with a score of 28 on the front nine, finishing with a 63 and 7th place finish (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

With the win, his first ever in a three-round tournament, Montgomerie moves to fifth on the Charles Schwab Cup Money List ($1,216,318). His 2016 season now includes seven top 10s in 17 starts.  This was the third time Montgomerie played in Sunday’s final group this season, and this was the first time he emerged victorious.

Joe Daley chips out of a bunker on the 18th hole during Sunday's action. Daley would finish with a 76 on the day and 2-over-par for the tournament (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Joe Daley chips out of a bunker on the 18th hole during Sunday’s action. Daley would finish with a 76 on the day and 2-over-par for the tournament (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

This was McCarron’s first playoff appearance on PGA TOUR Champions. With the runner-up finish, McCarron moved from No. 11 to No. 8 on the money list ($1,100,935). He now has five top 10s this season, including one victory (Principal Charity Classic) and two runner-up finishes.

Bernhard Langer tips his cap to the fans at the second green after making an excellent approach shot on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Bernhard Langer tips his cap to the fans at the second green after making an excellent approach shot on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Rod Spittle carded a bogey-free 66 Sunday, lifting him into a tie for 38th to lead the quartet of Canadians in the field. He was followed by Jim Rutledge (T41, 73-69-68 – 210), Stephen Ames (T54, 74-69-69 – 212) and Murray Poje (78th, 82-79-73 – 234).

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