Frost finishes strong for Toshiba Classic victory

The par-three, 185-yard 17th is known as the signature hole at Newport Beach Country Club. It also became David Frost's as he sank a sensational 50-foot putt on his way to victory Sunday.

The birdie was the highlight of his wire-to-wire win at the 19th Toshiba Classic. Frost shot a 65 to tie the tournament record at 19-under-par 194 and hold off Fred Couples, who trailed by one shot entering the final round but finished five shots behind.

Peter Senior and Jay Haas, who shot 194 in 2007, finished tied for third place, eight shots behind Frost. Tom Watson was one shot behind them for fifth place.

Frost, a 10-time PGA Tour winner, slammed the door shut with his birdie putt on No. 17. Frost has two victories in his last seven events, part of seven top-10 finishes during that stretch.

"I just chose my spot on the left side," Frost said of his putt on No. 17. "I was trying to get it close and found the middle of the hole. Really big bonus there. I think those things happen when you keep knocking on the door, you keep hitting good shots, you keep putting yourself in position to hit birdie putts."

The 53-year-old South African grabbed his fourth victory on the Champions Tour and collected the $262,500 winner's check. He birdied four of his last five holes to distance himself from Couples, who was behind one shot after a birdie on No. 10.

"I think it was too much work for him," Frost said. "I wasn't hitting too many bad shots out there. ... I felt confident about my game out there."

Frost birdied the par-four, 397-yard No. 14 to go up three shots on Couples, who bogeyed on No. 12. Couples birdied the par-five, 492-yard No. 15, but Frost followed with a birdie.

"He made a putt on 17 that if it wouldn't have gone in, he may have three putted, but it still wouldn't have mattered," Couples said. "He was well in control and he played well."

Frost's start in the final round wasn't ideal, a bogey. But he birdied four of his next five holes to regain and add to his lead.

Couples said he lived in Newport Beach for a few years in the 1980s. He had great support from a huge gallery during the final round.

"I think there's more pressure on him than me," Frost said of Couples being the fan favorite. "Him chasing he's gotta make a putt. I think the pressure was more on him. It's great to be in that position when you're in a guy's hometown and you're able to beat him."

Esteban Toledo, a former Newport Beach Country Club honorary member who lives in Irvine, tied for sixth place with Rocco Mediate at nine under. It's Toledo's best finish on the Champions Tour. His homecoming was bittersweet, as his older brother, Mario, died last week.

Jim Rutledge, who finished tied for eighth place, shot a 62, tying the lowest final-round score at the Toshiba Classic.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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