Endicott:RW Eaks, who never finished better than seventh in a regular US tour event and was winless in 90 events over six seasons on the seniors tour, shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the inaugural Dick's Sporting Goods Open.
Eaks, a self-taught golfer who has five runner-up finishes the past two years, completed the three rounds over the narrow and tricky En-Joie Golf Club course at 17-under 199. He won $240,000 to push his earnings for the year past $1 million.
"I honestly didn't know if I could win a tournament," Eaks said. "Man, this is great! I want to do it again."
Tour rookie Bruce Vaughan, bidding to become the first open qualifier to win a tournament since Pete Oakley won the 2004 Senior British Open, provided the only real challenge. But Vaughan (68) never mounted a charge over the closing holes and finished second, three shots behind.
Lonnie Nielsen had a closing 67 to finish third at 10 under, one shot better than D.A. Weibring (66) and Andy Bean (68).
Scott Hoch (73), seeking his second win of the year, missed four birdie putts on the front nine, never found his touch on the backside and finished tied for sixth with John Harris (69) and Boonchu Ruangkit (69), nine shots behind.
Eaks began the day with a one-shot lead over Vaughan and a two-shot advantage over Hoch. It was just the second time in his Champions Tour career that Eaks had led going into the final round.
He led Bob Gilder by one stroke after 36 holes at the 2005 SAS Championship before closing with a 77 and finishing in a tie for 10th.
This time he was aggressive from the start and didn't falter, even with Hoch and Craig Stadler, who counts the 1982 Masters as one of the 13 tournaments he won on the PGA Tour, in close pursuit.