DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Wearing bacon-themed pants and using a putter he bought from an Iowa sporting goods store, Mark Calcavecchia broke through for one of his most satisfying wins.
Calcavecchia won the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday for his third career Champions Tour title, closing with a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Joe Durant and Brian Henninger.
Calcavecchia, who missed the cut in the Senior PGA Championship two weeks ago, never trailed during the final round at the Wakonda Club. The 13-time PGA Tour winner finished at 12-under 204.
“It’s kind of out of nowhere. I’m kind of in a little state of shock right now,” said Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion.
Durant shot a 69, missing a long birdie putt on the 18th hole. Henninger had a 68.
Rod Spittle was fourth at 10 under after a 68.
Davis Love III had a 68 to top the group at 9 under. He was making his fourth Champions Tour start since turning 50 in April 2014.
But the weekend as all about Calcavecchia — who picked up his first win since a gruesome injury to his right hand in November that left him wondering if his career was finished.
“It still bothers me. I wake up and these fingers hurt,” Calcavecchia said. “But I get out there and start playing. … I kind of get over the pain and forget about it.”
After missing the cut at the Senior PGA in French Lick, Indiana, Calcavecchia took in the Indianapolis 500 before driving to Des Moines. In his second-round 77 in Indiana, Calcavecchia had a bit of a tantrum, breaking two clubs on the par-5 ninth hole. He broke the first over his knee after a bad second shot. After missing the green with his third, he snapped the shaft on that club by slamming it into the ground.
Calcavecchia stopped by a local golf shop earlier in the week, grabbed a putter he liked and drilled a dozen in a row on the store’s putting green. The new putter was a hit on the course as well, helping Calcavecchia pick up his first Champions Tour win since 2012.
The player who appeared to have the best shot at overtaking Calcavecchia was Love– but he fell apart down the stretch.
Love, playing in just his second senior event of the year, birdied four out of five holes and pulled within a shot of Calcavecchia with three holes to play.
But Love bogeyed the par-4 16th after a chip try barely went a few feet.
Love then sent his tee shot on No. 17 into some rocks and had to take a penalty. He wound up with a double bogey.
Love’s collapse helped clear the way for Calcavecchia — though his can’t-miss trousers seemed to be a good luck charm as well.
Calcavecchia first wore the pants, which he got from the organizers of an annual bacon-themed festival in Des Moines, on Friday.
Calcavecchia went back to traditional pants Saturday.
But once he moved into first place, Calcavecchia knew he needed them for the final 18 holes.
“All of a sudden I grabbed the lead and I’m like, ‘I’ve got to wear them. I’ll give them one more shot,'” Calcavecchia said.
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