The final day of the Tom Watson Challenge concluded on Sunday at the National Golf Club in Parkville, Mo. Tom Watson, the 36 hole leader, won his fifth title in the event, but the real winner was the First Tee Foundation of Greater Kansas City which received a check for $72,000 from proceeds at the event.
Watson began the round with a birdie on the par four first hole. On the second hole he chipped his third shot past the flag; it spun back and stopped about four feet from the hole. Watson was able to make the putt for a birdie four.
On the third hole Watson left himself a 10 foot putt and on the fourth hole he left himself eight foot, both for par. After the round he stated that after putting so badly in round two his wife told him that he wasn’t following through on his short putts. “It’s good to have a wife that knows something about the game” he said about draining the putts on both holes.
On the fifth hole Watson really began to draw away from the field when his third shot landed on the green about five to eight feet from the cup. He was able to roll the ball into the cup for his third birdie of the day.
His putter and shot making remained true for the next eight holes as he strung together one par after another. The only glitch in his play came on the 14th hole when he missed a short putt for par and posted a bogey. He then posted four more pars finishing with a two under round and six under for the tournament.
After the round Watson said the golf course played longer in the third round due to heavy rains overnight, which made the U.S. Open length rough even more hazardous and the winds constantly changed directions. Tom Watson designed the National Golf Club and pointed out that next year’s challenge will be at Loch Lloyd and that he also had a hand in designing that course.
Sean Dougherty finished the tournament five shots back of Watson to take second place. Dougherty shot an even par round of 72, with two bogeys and two birdies. When asked about playing with Dougherty Tom Watson said, “His swing is so beautiful, I just love to watch it.”
Bryan Norton playing as an amateur came in tied for third place with Clay Devers, both at four over par for the tournament. Norton won honors as the low amateur for the challenge. On the par three fourth hole Norton had a long putt for birdie. He used a conventional blade putter and left the ball short of the hole. His caddie then handed him a long putter, which he used to hole the shorter putt. When asked about the use of two putters he stated that he is better with long putts with the conventional style putter and better on short putts with the long putter, so he has one less club in his bag to carry two putters.
Despite shooting two under par for the final round defending champion Joe Ida ended the challenge in fifth place at five over par.