Jeff Sluman, whose only previous title came in the 1988 PGA Championship, ended his long drought when he held on for a one-stroke victory in the Tucson Chrysler Classic Sunday.
Sluman broke out of a tie with Steve Jones by sinking a two-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole. But Sluman bogeyed No. 18, finishing the final round with a seven-under-par 67 and the tournament at 13-under 275.
Then Sluman, who had placed second eight times--including three playoff losses--in 241 tournaments since his breakthrough in a major event, had to wait for Jones to play out.
Jones’ approach shot bounced 50 feet over the green, and he skulled his attempt to pitch back to within par distance. When he two-putted from about 45 feet for a bogey, the tension etched on Sluman’s face dissolved into a grin.
“I couldn’t possibly be any happier. I’ve got the monkey off my back,” Sluman said.
The victory earned him $234,000 and gave him $238,104 in four starts this season. Sluman, 39, missed the cut at Phoenix, a tournament won by Jones, and Hawaii, where Paul Stankowski prevailed, and was 62nd at Pebble Beach.
“I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen,” said Sluman, who had 43 top-10 finishes between the 1988 PGA and winning Sunday. “But if I never won again, I don’t think my career would have been considered a poor one. I think my peers respect me as a good player.”
Jones was alone at 276, and Brad Bryant and Stankowski were another shot back.
Tom Kite, Don Pooley, Clarence Rose, Jeff Maggert and 1992 Tucson champion Lee Janzen were grouped at 278.
Bud Allin won his first career Senior PGA Tour event with a one-shot victory at the $1.2-million American Express Senior Invitational tournament at Sarasota, Fla.
Allin, 52, who began the day with a three-shot lead, shot a three-under-par 69 in the final round to finish at 11-under 205. One shot behind after shooting a tournament-best 67 was Jim Colbert, the Seniors’ 1996 Player of the Year.
Allin, a Vietnam veteran who took a 14-year break from golf before joining the senior circuit, earned $180,000 for his first professional win of any kind since the PGA Tour’s 1976 Pleasant Valley Classic.
Zimbabwe’s Nick Price won the Alfred Dunhill South African PGA tournament in a playoff with South Africa’s David Frost. Price closed with a 66 and Frost with a 71 as they tied at 269 after four rounds.
Nico van Rensburg of South Africa was third at 278.
Mark Carnevale of Ponte Verda Beach, Fla., shot a final-round 66 to win the $200,000 Nike Inland Empire Open at Moreno Valley Ranch. Carnevale’s 274 total was two strokes better than David Monticello, who closed with an 8-under-par 64.