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Perry Wins Regions Tradition at Difficult Shoal Creek
Kenny Perry closed with an even-par 72 to win the Regions Tradition. The $2.2 million event, the Champions Tour's first major of the year, took place at a tough Shoal Creek near Birmingham, Ala.
Perry carded three birdies and three bogeys Sunday to finish at 7-under 281, a stroke ahead of Mark Calcavecchia (70).
The victory for the 53-year-old Kentuckian was his sixth on the Champions Tour and third major title, joining his Senior Players Championship and U.S. Senior Open from last year.
With the Regions Tradition title he became the second player in history to win in three straight Champions Tour major starts, matching Gary Player, who was the first to accomplish the feat in 1987-88.
The latest triumph was worth $330,000 and 660 FedEx Cup points for Perry, the reigning Charles Schwab Cup champion. Perry moved into fourth on the current Cup points list; Bernhard Langer remains the leader.
Perry, who began the final round with a one-stroke lead over John Inman, spoke for the players when he noted the Jack Nicklaus-designed Shoal Creek played difficult all week, saying during a TV interview it "(never let) anyone get away."
Perry has a chance to set a new consecutive-major mark on the over-50 circuit when the Senior PGA Championship tees off next Thursday at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Calcavecchia was in good position to log his first win on the Champions Tour since the 2012 Montreal Championship after recording four birdies through the first eight holes. But the 53-year-old couldn't sustain the pace, closing out the rest of the round with two bogeys and the rest pars.
Calcavecchia said later at greenside that he had a recurrence of a rib injury that started bothering him last year. "I was hurting all day," he said, noting that he wasn't sure he'd be playing in the Senior PGA.
Sharing third at 283 were Tom Lehman - who matched Sunday's low round of 5-under 67, Jay Haas (71) and Olin Browne (71). Tied for sixth another stroke back were Tom Watson, who also shot 67, Rocco Mediate (70) and John Cook (72).
Inman recorded a 73 to slip into a tie for ninth at 3-under 285 with Michael Allen (69), Marco Dawson (70), Joe Durant (69), Langer (71), Jeff Sluman (71) and Steve Elkington (73).
In addition to Lehman and Watson, Peter Senior was the third player to shoot 67. The Australian ended up alone in 30th at 291.
Defending champion David Frost closed with a 76 to drop into a share of 25th at 2-over 290.
One of the pre-tournament favorites, Fred Couples, was disqualified after missing his 9:40 a.m. tee time for the final round. No reason was given. Couples, who opened with rounds of 74, 77 and 73 and was 9-over at the start of play, announced later that he's withdrawn from next week's Senior PGA.
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