PALM HARBOR, Fla. Sean O'Hair took advantage of a stunning collapse by Stewart Cink to win the PODS Championship, closing with a 2-under 69 on Sunday to energize his young career and earn a trip to the Masters.
O'Hair hadn't won since his rookie season in 2005 and felt as if he had been going nowhere over the last couple of seasons. But he turned it around on the back nine of Innisbrook with a 30-foot birdie and two par putts that were equally important, building such a margin that he could afford a bogey on 18 for a two-shot victory.
It was his first victory since the John Deere Classic as a 22-year-old rookie, which got him into the British Open at St. Andrews. This victory sends him to Augusta National next month, and he will move into the top 40 in the world to qualify for the World Golf Championship at Doral in two weeks.
Cink suffered a loss perhaps even more devastating than the Accenture Match Play Championship blowout against Tiger Woods. Cink had a four-shot lead after two holes Sunday, still had control on the back nine, then dropped four shots in a four-hole stretch along the back nine of the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook.John Senden closed with a 67 and was a runner-up for the second straight year, both times finishing about an hour before the leaders. He tied for second with Cink, Ryuji Imada (68), George McNeill (69), Troy Matteson (69) and Billy Mayfair (72).
CHAMPIONS TOUR: At Newport Beach, Calif., Bernhard Langer outlasted defending champion Jay Haas in the Toshiba Classic, birdieing the final hole of regulation to force a playoff and winning with a birdie on the seventh extra hole. Langer, the 50-year-old German star who won the 1985 and 1993 Masters, has two victories in nine career Champions Tour starts. Last October, he won the Administaff Small Business Classic in Texas in his fourth event on the 50-and-over tour. Scott Simpson (65), Ben Crenshaw (67) and Gary McCord (67) tied for third at 11 under, and Curtis Strange (66) and first-round Tim Simpson (70) were 10 under.