Sluman rallies to win First Tee Open for 3rd time

Updated: 11 July 2011 11:58 IST

shot a 2-under 70 and overcame a pair of bogeys on the back nine on Sunday, holding on to win the First Tee Open for the third time in four years.

Sluman rallies to win First Tee Open for 3rd time

Pebble Beach:

Jeff Sluman shot a 2-under 70 and overcame a pair of bogeys on the back nine on Sunday, holding on to win the First Tee Open for the third time in four years.

On a day when most of the leaders struggled just to break even, Sluman had five bogeys and closed with three straight pars to finish at 10-under 206 and seal his first victory since winning here in 2009. He also took the title at Pebble Beach in 2008, making Sluman the only three-time winner of this event.

Jay Haas entered the final round with a two-stroke lead, but struggled all afternoon and had a 75 to finish in a three-way share of second. David Eger (72) and Brad Bryant (73) joined Haas at 208, while local favorite Bobby Clampett (74) ended in a five-way tie for fifth.

Ted Schulz, the 2010 champion, shot 75 and was equal 27th at 215.

"I've been very comfortable on this golf course for the last 20 years," Sluman said. "It's hard to explain. It doesn't mean you're going to play well but I've had success here and I think that's because I am comfortable."

Sluman is also the first player on the Champions Tour to win the same event three times since Jim Thorpe won the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2003, '06 and '07.

Afterward as he stood outside of the scorer's trailer waiting for the rest of the field to finish, Sluman paused to talk with Ben Crenshaw.

"The king of Pebble Beach," Crenshaw said with a grin.

Sluman wouldn't go that far but clearly his history on this plush, picturesque course along the Monterey Peninsula made a difference.

Five different players had at least a share of the top spot on the final day, including Haas.

But Haas, like the rest of the pack, faltered at key moments and gave way to Sluman. A day after carding a 65, he had three birdies, four bogeys and one double-bogey to close with a 75.

"I don't feel like I played 10 shots worse," Haas said. "It seemed like every decent putt I got at, it was either downhill or had a 3- or 4-foot break to it, and I just never seemed to have a putt that I could run at. It was a very difficult day."

Topics : Golf
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