Scott Hoch was trailing by three shots with eight holes to play, so he simply went back to basics.
The decision paid off. Hoch birdied five of the final eight holes for a one-shot victory in the Allianz Championship on Sunday.
After a bogey on the 10th hole, Hoch knocked in birdies on Nos., 11, 12, 15, 17 and 18 to finish at 4-under 68, one shot better than Brad Bryant and Bruce Lietzke. It was Hoch’s second win since joining the Champions Tour in 2006.
“It wasn’t looking good today,” Hoch said. “I just went back to basics instead of hitting shots according to conditions.”
He finished the tournament at 14-under 202.
Bryant was the leader in the clubhouse after shooting a 6-under 66, the best round of the day in windy conditions at The Old Course at Broken Sound. He started four shots behind second-round leader Jerry Pate, who was bidding to win his second straight Champions title.
Bryant was impressed by Hoch’s finish.
“That birdie (on 17) was just phenomenal,” Bryant said. “It’s probably the toughest hole out there today.
“When I finished, I thought we had an outside chance for a playoff. But the 18th was playing easy today.”
Hoch hit his drive down the middle and landed his second shot about 16 feet away for an easy two-putt for the winning birdie.
“Anytime you win a tournament, you have to have a little luck,” said Hoch, who took time to dedicate the victory to his ailing caddie, Greg Rita, who isn’t able to carry his bag. “Hopefully, he gets to come back and caddy for me again.”
Lietzke also held the lead briefly, but needed birdies at Nos. 16 and 18 to finish off a 4-under 68 to tie with Bryant at 203.
Eduardo Romero, who was tied for the lead until bogeying the 15th, tied with Bobby Wadkins at 12-under 204.
Keith Fergus, who eagled the first hole to get into contention, tied with Jay Haas and John Cook at 205. Pate and Tom Kite were next at 206.
Defending champion Mark James finished eight shots behind Hoch after shooting a 74 on Sunday.