Walking up the 18th hole, Mark O'Mearacouldn't avoid the giant video board replaying Loren Roberts' teeshot on the 17th, his ball bouncing into the fringe behind thehole, somehow wiggling from the longer grass to gently slide 5 feetfrom the cup.
For the eighth time since joining the Champions Tour, O'Mearawas stuck settling for second place.
Roberts made the short birdie putt on 17 to draw even withO'Meara, then sank a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th to steal theBoeing Classic title Sunday and keep O'Meara winless on theChampions Tour.
Roberts finished at 18 under, thanks to a final-round 65 and afortuitous bounce on 17 when the ball came out of the fringe andtrickled its way toward the hole.
"I saw it get a foot up into the fringe. It just goes to showyou, and I've said it when I've won, 'Hey, it was my day. I gotlucky.' There is a lot of skill involved but it's all a matter ofgetting the right break at the right time," O'Meara said. "Whoknows, maybe that ball could have stayed up there. But it doesn'twork that way and he's got the trophy."
Roberts won for the third time this season, adding to victoriesat the ACE Group Classic and the Senior British Open last month.
O'Meara led by a shot until an untimely bogey on the short,par-4 16th when his second shot bounced on the lip of a bunkershort of the green and fell back into the sand. O'Meara reboundedwith a birdie on the 17th, but could only manage a par on the par-518th when his tee shot found a fairway bunker.
Roberts took advantage. He nearly matched O'Meara's sterling teeshot at 17, a shot that Roberts had been dreading all week. Withwater fronting the green the pin was placed in the back leftcorner. Roberts, who struggles with right-to-left shots, got his5-iron to turn over just enough to catch a ridge separating thegreen.
But he didn't see the ball hop into the fringe and pop free.
"That's a tough pin for me to get at," Roberts said. "I putprobably the best swing of the tournament for me. ... For me to getinto position was to make the birdie at 17. I'd been thinking aboutthat hole all week."
Roberts then birdied the final hole with three solid shots. From50 yards out Roberts used a wedge and hit a low skip shot thatlanded on the fringe, checked up and rolled just a few feet fromthe cup. O'Meara was on the driving range prepping for a potentialplayoff when Roberts dropped his winning putt.
"I'm not going to say second is terrible because it's notterrible," O'Meara said. "But when you've come close as I haveand not break through yet, and today could have been a greatbreakthrough day for me. Unfortunately I'll have to wait until nextweek."
Dan Forsman and Bernhard Langer finished tied for third place at14 under. Hal Sutton made a huge charge, shooting a tournament-lowround of 63 including an eagle on the final hole. Sutton finishedat 12 under and in fifth place.
Second-round co-leader Mark McNulty stumbled at the start with afour-putt from about 40 feet after reaching the par-5 first in twoshots. McNulty shot a 3-over 75 and finished in eighth place at 8under.
Separated by one group, Roberts and O'Meara turned the finalround into a two-man match of O'Meara dropping birdies and Robertsmatching.
O'Meara made nine birdies, including five on the back nine, withhis only blemish coming at the 16th, part of an 8-under 64. But hestill hasn't won a PGA Tour sanctioned event since the 1998 BritishOpen.
O'Meara made birdies at Nos. 6, 7, 8, then spun a fairway bunkershot to 6 feet for a birdie at No. 10. He hit another stellarbunker shot at the 12th to about 4 feet and another at the 210-yardpar-3 13th, pushed O'Meara to 16 under.
But Roberts answered each charge, thanks to a putter that sawRoberts make just one bogey Sunday - one of only two bogeys theentire tournament.
Roberts birdied Nos. 7 and 8, then saw his birdie putt on 10 doa 360 around the hole and drop to get to 14 under. He pulled evenwith O'Meara at 15 under with a birdie on the 12th and addedanother at the 13th, from the fringe, to reach 16 under.
Roberts hit just 23 putts in his round and nine on the closingnine holes. He also closed the gap with leader Fred Funk in theCharles Schwab Cup points race. Roberts now trails by 86 points.
"No question I holed some putts there on the back nine,"Roberts said. "I made some putts today, believe me."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times