Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Golf [Print without images]

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Dan Forsman wins Champions opener

Associated Press

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Dan Forsman never flinched in the final round of the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

Forsman closed with a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Sunday for his third Champions Tour title. He beat Jay Don Blake by two shots. Defending champion John Cook and Michael Allen shared third, another shot back.

The 53-year-old Forsman, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, finished with a 15-under 201 total at Hualalai Resort and earned $307,000 in the 41-man event.

He opened with rounds of 67 and 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round. He never lost it, earning his first win in 20 months.

"On the 18th green I couldn't even speak," Forsman said. "I am really humbled to top this field of guys I've admired and competed with all my professional life. The chance to be on top of a distinguished group of players like this is something I'll always cherish. You've got to be blessed to have opportunities like this and I feel like I am."

Blake birdied the final hole for a 67. He finished last season with a victory in the Charles Schwab Championship.

A warm wind that gusted up to 25 mph kept scores relatively high on one of the senior tour's easiest layouts. It was the first time since 2000 that the winner did not have a sub-200 score at Hualalai.

Forsman protected his lead with three birdies in the first 11 holes. His first bogey since Friday and only his second of the week still left him with a two-shot edge after 12 holes, and he held off Blake with a birdie and five pars on the closing holes.

Forsman struggled with a painful left hip last year, and had just one top-10 finish. He dropped to 45th on the money list after finishing in the top 10 in his first two seasons on the 50-and-over tour.

"I sat home over the holidays and kept thinking, 'What will it take to get through the door,' " Forsman said. "I kept thinking, 'I've got to do the little things that all add up.' "

Gary Hallberg (68) and Jeff Sluman (71) tied for fifth, four shots behind Forsman.

Mark Calcavecchia, Jay Haas, Brad Bryant and 62-year-old Tom Watson tied for seventh at 10 under. It was Watson's ninth top-10 finish in 12 starts at Hualalai.

Calcavecchia has seven consecutive top-10 finishes on the tour, dating to his win last year at the Boeing Classic. He matched Hallberg for the low round Sunday with a 66.