Pittsford, N.Y. — In being introduced at the podium as the winner of the 80th Senior PGA Championship, Ken Tanigawa blew out a deep breath still attempting to put into perspective what had just happened.
From playing the final round with friend and former UCLA teammate Scott McCarron, to giving up professional golf some 16 years ago before taking a shot at qualifying for the PGA Tour Champions, and then winning a major at Oak Hill Country Club, Tanigawa had difficulty digesting it.
“To say it’s a dream come true may be an understatement. And to win at Oak Hill on such a storied venue makes it that much more special,” the 51-year-old said. “Tomorrow morning I’ll probably wake up in hysterics, right?”
On Sunday, Tanigawa showed only a flair for the dramatic on the 6,800-yard East Course. He shot an even-par 70 to finish at 3-under 277 in rallying from a three-shot deficit over the back nine to pass defending champion Paul Broadhurst.
That was enough to fend off McCarron, the PGA Tour Champions money leader, by one stroke, and two better than Broadhurst.
Ahead by one, Tanigawa scrambled for par on the par-4 18th after hitting his tee shot into a fairway bunker. He knocked it out of trouble, hit his third from 123 yards out to 10 and made the uphill putt for par.
It was only fitting that McCarron was standing near the green and flashed Tanigawa a thumbs-up when his chip shot struck the rough at the back of the green and had enough spin to roll back toward the hole.
“That was really cool of him to do that,” Tanigawa said. “It was a nerve-wracking and anxious moment.”
McCarron couldn’t help but be impressed.
“That flies another foot and he’s in the rough and dead, and he loses the tournament and I win,” McCarron said. “It was a nice moment for him. Wasn’t nice for me.”
And McCarron recalled something he once told Tanigawa after he earned a spot on the senior tour last year by tying for fourth in the qualifying tournament.
“I told him once he got out here he would be a top 10 player,” he said. “And he is certainly proving that to me and everyone else. The guy can flat-out hit it.”
McCarron’s bid to force a tie ended when he missed a 25-foot birdie putt about a foot to the left and finished the round at even, and 2 under for the tournament.
Broadhurst, who won the major at Harbor Shores in southwest Michigan last year, began the day with a two-shot lead , but had a 75 to finish third at 1 under. His chance to force a tie ended when he missed a lengthy birdie putt and then settled for a bogey.
The final round turned on the back nine, with Tanigawa at 1 under for the tournament, and Broadhurst leading at 4 under.
Tanigawa’s comeback run began with a birdie on the par-3 11th. He then got to 3 under – and one shot back of Broadhurst – by sinking a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th.
Tanigawa tied Broadhurst at 4 under with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th. He then took the lead for good a few minutes later when Broadhurst had difficulty getting out the rough on 16, missed an 8-foot bogey putt and settled for double bogey to fall to 2 under.
Rather than blaming a cellphone that went off in the gallery on No. 16, Broadhurst blamed himself for driving his tee shot into the right rough, and then his second shot into the left rough.
“I knew it was going to be tough. It’s a tough course any day of the week,” Broadhurst said, before congratulating Tanigawa. “I’m so pleased for him. He’s a cracking guy.”
It was an unlikely final round for Broadhurst, who was coming off two bogey-free rounds. The 53-year-old from England had his bogey-free streak end at 40 holes on No 3. He finished with just one birdie, on the par-3 11th, and had four bogeys and the double bogey.
Tanigawa also won the tour’s PURE insurance Championship last year at Pebble Beach. His previous best finish this year was a tie for seventh at the Insperity Championship three weeks ago.
Born in Kobe, Japan, Tanigawa grew up in southern California and was teammates with McCarron and Brandt Jobe at UCLA. He spent 11 years playing professionally in Australia, Asia and Japan before eventually giving up playing professionally after 2003.
“You know how life moves on and you make life decisions and I was OK with that,” he said of leaving golf. “But to answer your question, back in the day to say, ‘Hey, I was going to win at Pebble Beach an d then win a senior major championship?’ No.”
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen finished fourth at even par after a 74. He began the day in second, two shots behind Broadhurst and was attempting to his first tournament since the PGA Tour’s Transitions Championship in 2009.
In a week marred by three weather delays , including two on Saturday, the final round was played under partly cloudy conditions with temperatures in the 70s and a slight breeze.
Mark Brown, from Oyster Bay, New York, and Bob Sowards, from Dublin, Ohio, were the tournament’s top club pros by finishing in a tie for 21st at 9 over.
Kevin Na birdied four of the first eight holes and shot a 4-under 66 for a four-shot victory over Tony Finau in the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial at Fort Worth, Texas.
Na opened with a two-shot lead and was in front by at least that many for the final 16 holes after putting his second shot inside 5 feet for birdie at the par-4 second. He finished at 13-under 267.
His third career PGA Tour victory, and second in 10 months, came after putting himself in contention with a second-round 62, one off the Colonial record. It was his third score at least that good in a span of six on the cozy course made famous by Ben Hogan.
Jordan Spieth’s strong putting disappeared in a 2-over 72 as the Dallas native finished eight shots back to remain without a victory since the 2017 British Open.
Jim Furyk’s hopes faded when the 2003 U.S. Open champion went in the water for double bogey at the par-3 13th on the way to a 73. The last of Furyk’s 17 career victories was four years ago at Hilton Head.
Finau briefly was within a shot of Na early in the round, and he was two back when Na birdied 14 about the same time Finau had a bogey at 16 to extend the lead to four. Finau, looking for his second career win three years after his first, closed with a 68.
Local favorite Jordan Spieth’s strong putting disappeared in a 2-over 72.
Bronte Law shot a 3-under 67 and held off a series of challengers at Williamsburg, Virginia, to win the Pure Silk Championship by two shots for her first career victory on the LPGA Tour.
Law, a 24-year-old from England who played at UCLA, held a share of the lead after all four rounds and finished with a 17-under 267 total on the River Course at the Kingsmill Resort.
Madelene Sagstrom, Brooke Henderson and 54-hole co-leader Nasa Hataoka tied for second. Sagstrom shot 66, Henderson 68 and Hataoka 69.
Law, who came from 10 shots back on the last day to get into a playoff in the LPGA Mediheal Championship three weeks ago at Lake Merced, made six straight pars on the back nine before a 15-foot birdie putt at the par-4 16th doubled her lead. Two-putt pars on the last two holes capped the victory in her 56th career start.
Bernd Wiesberger closed with a 5-under 66 and held on to win the Made in Denmark tournament in Farso for his fifth European Tour title.
Wiesberger missed seven months last year because of a wrist injury and was on the verge of falling out of the top 400 in the world ranking until his victory. It was his first top 10 since the HSBC Champions in October 2017.
The Austrian came into the final round at the Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort with a one-shot lead over Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, and Wiesberger could never pull away. He was slowed by a double bogey on No. 4. Wiesberger made eagle on No. 11, only to give that back with a two-shot swing on the 13th when he made bogey and MacIntrye made birdie.
Wiesberger pulled ahead for good with a birdie on the par-3 16th, and the Scot dropping a shot on the 17th. Wiesberger, who made a harmless bogey on the last, finished on 270.
Roman Langasque of France finished a distant third after a 66.