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Wood Sneaks Past Glasson to Win Hawaii Championship
While 36-hole leader Bill Glasson frittered away the four-stroke lead he enjoyed entering the final round of the inaugural Hawaii Championship, Willie Wood closed with a six-birdie 66 at Kopolei Golf Course for his second victory of the year on the Champions Tour.
Glasson, whose career has been interrupted by numerous injuries and is still searching for his first professional title since the PGA Tour's Las Vegas Invitational 15 years ago, opened with two birdies on the front nine but shot a 2-over 38 on the back nine for an even-par 72.
The Fresno native, who started promisingly with rounds of 66 and 65, ended up at 13-under 203, one stroke behind Wood, who earned $270,000.
"I had a great back nine," said Wood, who went bogey-free over 54 holes, with his 14th birdie of the tournament coming on the last hole. "I just hung in there and the putts kept continuing to fall and I got a little bit lucky with the way Bill finished."
That finish by Glasson was a shame. The 52-year-old carded five bogeys and three birdies on the inward half Sunday. Yet he still had a chance to force a playoff with Wood.
But it was not to be for the star-crossed golfer.
Needing a par on the last, Glasson's sand shot approach on the par-4 18th skidded down a bank between the green and a pond. He chipped to 12 feet, but missed the tying putt to hand the tournament to Wood, whose only prior win as a touring pro - before this year anyway - came in the 1996 Deposit Guaranty Classic.
"I know how Bill feels," said a sympathetic Wood, a native of Texas. "We all go through that."
"The last six or seven holes were a rollercoaster," noted Glasson. "It got a bit iffy between clubs out there, but you have to give Woody credit."
Of the final hole, Glasson said: "I hit that putt on 18 too hard. Couldn't get the speed right. I need to work on some things. If I start missing greens, my short game isn't good enough."
Ending up in solo third at 204 was first-round leader Peter Senior (69), who's also still looking for his first win on the Champions Tour, while another stroke back were Charles Schwab Cup points' leader Tom Lehman (67) and David Frost (69).
The win allowed Wood to jump to 14th on the season's money list with $854,817 in 10 events.
The Champions Tour is idle for next week's Tour Championship - the final event of the year on the PGA Tour, but re-starts with the SAS Championship October 5th, the first of three events leading up to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., November 1.
"I wish we had a tournament next week," said a happy Wood. "I'm confident now. It's been so much fun playing well."
For all the scores of the Hawaii Championship, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboards/current/s621.
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