Pebble Beach, Calif. — Ken Tanigawa made a 35-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th at Pebble Beach to win the Pure Insurance Championship on Sunday for his first Champions Tour title.
Making his 18th Champions start, the 50-year-old Tanigawa closed with an even-par-72 to beat Kirk Triplett and Marco Dawson by a stroke. The former UCLA player went through Q-school as a re-instated amateur and turned professional again at the start of the season.
“Just, wow!” Tanigawa said. “I’m a little speechless right now, a lot going on.
“It was a hard round for me, but I fought back, and to be able to eagle the last hole, just unreal.”
Lake Orion’s Tom Gillis, making his fifth Champions Tour start, shot 73 and finished 7 under to tie for fifth place. A double-bogey at 10 and bogey at 17 cost him a shot at his first championship. He is 43rd on the money list.
Tanigawa finished at 10-under 205, also making a long eagle putt on his final hole Saturday at Poppy Hills to take a two-stroke lead into the final round. He birdied Nos. 2 and 3, gave the strokes back with bogeys on 4 and 5, had a double bogey on the par-4 eighth and made nine straight pars before the winning eagle.
“I was just trying to hang in there,” Tanigawa said. “It was hard to play with the lead, I’ve never done it out here.
Triplett had a 70. He birdied the 18th after bogeying 16 and 17.
Dawson saved par on 18 for 71.
“I hit the ball really good the first two days and I can’t tell you how many shots better I would been if I just made half the putts from 12 feet that I missed,” Dawson said.
The professional players were paired with juniors from The First Tee program.