Published On: Mon, Feb 14th, 2011

Allianz Championship decided on last hole for 2nd straight year

Just last year, Boca Raton’s own Bernhard Langer was trailing John Cook before a birdie on the last hole of regulation forced a playoff that he eventually won.

This year, Tom Lehman birdied the final hole on Sunday to move past Jeff Sluman and Rod Spittle and earn the victory at the Allianz Championship.

Lehman shot a three-under 69 and took the title at 13-under 203. It was good for a one-stroke victory over Jeff Sluman and Rod Spittle.

“There’s a lot of great players out here,” Lehman later said. “They really bring out the best in all of us. I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Lehman had a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-three 16th to tie Sluman at 12-under par. At the next hole, Lehman saved a par after he missed the green, but Spittle converted a six-footer for a three-way tie.

Both Lehman and Spittle hit the fairway off the par-five 18th tee. Spittle was first and hit his ball into a greenside bunker. Lehman’s eight-iron came up almost 60 feet short of the flagstick.

Spittle blasted out six feet short of the cup. Lehman ran his long birdie try four feet past the hole, so both players had a decent chance to make a winning birdie putt.

Spittle pulled his birdie try, so the pressure was on Lehman, who calmly hit the ball in the cup for his third victory on the Champions Tour.

“This is why you play golf. This is why you practice – to put yourself in the position to have to hit good shots and good putts to win. Rod put the pressure on all day. He never gave up. Sometimes, when you have to work at it a little bit, it makes it much more special.” Lehman said of his winner

Lehman trailed by one at the start of the final round and finished with five birdies and two bogeys on Sunday.

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