Rocco Mediate shakes struggles with wire-to-wire victory at Senior PGA Championship

Rocco Mediate
Rocco Mediate poses with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy after winning the 2016 Senior PGA Championship. (Getty)

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Rocco Mediate put the finishing touch on a stunning week at Harbor Shores, shooting a 5-under 66 on Sunday to win the 77th Senior PGA Championship.

Mediate, who opened with a 62 on Thursday and played his first two days without a bogey, went wire-to-wire for his third victory as a senior. By defeating two-time defending champion Colin Montgomerie by three strokes, Mediate’s 72-hole total of 265 broke by three strokes a Senior PGA record set 43 years ago by Sam Snead.

Mediate had been struggling over the first five months of the season. He came to Harbor Shores having played 22 rounds in 2016 — none of them in the 60s. Mediate last won in 2013, his first season on the Champions Tour. At Harbor Shores, Mediate also set the Senior PGA’s 36-hole scoring record and tied the 54-hole mark.

“I knew it’s been coming,” said Mediate, “but this was kind of insane.

“I don’t believe I’m sitting here right now as champion.”

Montgomerie was trying to become just the ninth player since 1900, at any level of professional golf, to win the same major three years in a row. He shot a 4-under 67 on Sunday to finish three strokes ahead of Bernhard Langer (67) and Brandt Jobe (68). Tommy Armour III finished with a 66, sharing the low round of the day, to tie for fifth place with Billy Andrade (67).

Montgomerie’s four-round total of 268 tied the 72-hole Senior PGA record until Mediate holed out moments later.

Montgomerie had a chance to tie Mediate down the stretch, but his 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 15th just missed. After Montgomerie tapped in for birdie, Mediate then holed an 8-footer for birdie and a two-stroke margin.

Two holes later, Mediate put an emphatic stamp on the win when he holed a bunker shot for a birdie at the par-3 17th.

“As soon as it left the club, I knew it had a chance,” Mediate said. “That was huge — very huge.”

Said Montgomerie, “There is nothing wrong with 67. All credit goes to Rocco. He shot 66, and you can’t knock it.

“Fifteen was the turning point. I don’t know how my putt missed. Then, at 17, where 3 would have been a good score out of the bunker, he holes it. There’s nothing wrong with 67. I was beaten by the better man today.”

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