Blaine McCallister birdied four of six holes at the start of the back nine and pulled away to a four-stroke victory Sunday in the $800,000 Honda tournament.
McCallister responded to pressure applied by Curtis Strange and Payne Stewart with the birdie burst that began on the ninth hole and went on to a final round 64 to post the second victory of his career.
But it wasn’t easy.
He had to pull off a minor miracle to get his par on the 15th hole, and then escaped undamaged after flirting with the water on the 16th.
McCallister, 30, from Ft. Stockton, Tex., nailed down the victory with a three-foot birdie putt on the 17th.
McCallister, who plays right-handed and putts left-handed, won with a 266 total, 22-under par and a course record on the TPC course at Eagle Trace.
His only other victory in a six-year Tour career came last season in Hardee’s tournament that is played the same week as the British Open.
This one was worth $144,000 from the total purse of $800,000 and pushed his earnings for the year to $160,540.
Stewart chipped in for a birdie on the 18th to break a three-way tie and claim second place at 270. His final-round 67 provided him with the runner-up spot in this tournament for the third consecutive year.
Strange, the U.S. Open title-holder, had a 65 and tied for third place with third-round leader Steve Pate at 271. Pate had a closing 70 in warm, windy weather.
Dan Pohl was next at 69-272, with Paul Azinger and Tom Byrum tied at 273. Azinger shot 68 over the final 18 holes, Byrum a 69.
Strange, playing about an hour in front of the other contenders, reached the turn in 33 and then ran off a string of four consecutive birdies beginning on the 11th hole.
Then the 1988 Player of the Year ran in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 16th, had a share of the lead and appeared ready to steal it all.
But he missed the green, fluffed a chip on the 18th and made the bogey that took him out of it.