Kenny Perry tried not to get ahead of himself Sunday at the Senior Players Championship in Pittsburgh. He knew all too well how quickly fortunes can change on golf’s top stages.
There was the devastation at the PGA Championship in 1996. Disaster at the Masters in 2009. Disappointment at the Senior PGA last month.
In the affable 52-year-old Kentuckian’s sterling career he had a pattern of finding ways to lose majors.
“I thought I was snakebit,” Perry said. “I got close so many times and I just seemed to mess up down the homestretch and not make it happen.”
This time, Perry didn’t leave anything to chance.
Tap-in birdies at No. 16 and No. 17 gave him a two-shot lead over Fred Couples. His par at No. 18 to closed a spectacular weekend at Fox Chapel with a bogey-free 6-under 64. He finished 72 holes at 19-under 261, two shots ahead of Seattle native Couples and Duffy Waldorf.
“My word was patience,” Perry said. “I wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself to win the golf tournament because I had so much heartache, so many losses. ... I was just thinking, ‘You know what, I’m tired of worrying about that.’ ”
Instead of feeling pressure, Perry exerted it. He withstood an early charge from Waldorf, who birdied his first four holes, then kept firing at pins on the back nine while Couples’ putter faltered.
Couples, recently inducted into the golf Hall of Fame, leads the Champions Tour in putting average. But his performance Sunday included driving the green on the par-4 seventh only to three-putt for par.
“There were a couple shots you always should have back,” Couples said. “... It was a little bit of a sour day the way I played after I teed off.”
HAAS STRETCHES STREAK
Bill Haas won the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md., and joined some distinguished company.
Haas pulled away from a crowd of contenders with a run of three birdies and two key pars. His 5-under 66 at muggy Congressional was good for a three-shot win over Roberto Castro.
As many as six players had a share of the lead until Haas rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8.
Haas led by at least two shots the entire back nine.
“I just kept the ball in front of me,” Haas said. “Nothing too crazy.”
Haas has won at least one PGA Tour event in each of the last four years, joining Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.
Paul Casey made a 50-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to seal his three-stroke victory at the Irish Open in Maynooth, Ireland. He shot a 5-under 67. … The Putnam brothers – Andrew (69) and Michael (73) from Tacoma’s Life Christian High School – tied for 14th place in the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship in Newburgh, Ind. Darkness halted play before a four-way playoff for the title, which will come Monday.