Triplett Defends at First Tee Open

Kirk Triplett closed with a 4-under 68 to win the Nature Valley First Tee Open for the second year in a row. The 54-hole $1.8 million Champions Tour event began Friday on California's Monterey Peninsula.

On a bogey-free day, the 51-year-old Moses Lake, Wash., native started with three birdies on the front nine at Pebble Beach Golf Links and added another birdie on the tough par-5 14th to finish at 11-under 205, two shots ahead of Doug Garwood and Dan Forsman, who both posted 69s.

Triplett, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour whose only two victories on the over-50 circuit have come at Pebble Beach, earned $270,000. The latest title in the First Tee Open moved him to 10th on the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points' standings.

Thirty-six-hole leader Tom Lehman had a tough day. After a Saturday that saw him record seven birdies and two bogeys at Pebble Beach, the 54-year-old Minnesotan had three birdies and five bogeys on the same iconic course to fall into solo fourth at 208.

Russ Cochran (74) took fifth at 209, while another stroke back were Willie Wood (69) and John Cook (72). Bernhard Langer finished in eighth at 211.

Despite not playing this week, Kenny Perry still leads the Cup race while Langer, who opened with a 63 at Del Monte Golf Course to take the 18-hole lead but followed that up with two straight 74s at Pebble Beach, replaced David Frost in second.

Following this week's Presidents Cup - where Fred Couples will captain the U.S. team at Muirfield Village in Ohio, the Champions Tour moves on to the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C.

After rounds of 68 and 71, the 53-year-old Couples shot a 76 Sunday to drop into a tie for 18th at 1-under 215.

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