GLENVIEW, Ill. —After struggling with his putting much of the round, Tom Lehman made a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Champions Tour’s Encompass Championship.
The 55-year-old Lehman closed with 2-under-par 70 at North Shore and had a 15-under 201 total for his eighth senior title and first since 2012. He rebounded from bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 – his only dropped strokes of the week – with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, parred the par-3 17th and won on the par-4 18th.
“It wasn’t my very best performance today, but it was good enough,” Lehman said.
Michael Allen and Kirk Triplett tied for second, a stroke back. Allen shot 67, and Triplett had 68.
Lehman, the 1996 British Open winner, opened with rounds of 65 and 66 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round. He ended a 27-event victory drought and won $270,000.
“The check is sweet, but the trophy is sweeter,” Lehman said.
His last win was the Schwab Cup Championship at the end of the 2012 season.
Lehman, who was bogey-free and made 13 birdies in the first two rounds, parred the first 11 holes before birdieing No. 12.
“I had a rough start and wasn’t putting like I did the first two days,” Lehman said. “It put me in a bit of a bind. After 14, I told my caddie, ‘Let’s have the best four holes of the week.’”
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Cork, Ireland, Mikko Ilonen shot a final-round 70 to win the Irish Open by one stroke.
The 34-year old Finn went wire-to-wire to earn his fourth tour victory with an overall 13-under 271 on the Fota Island course.
Edoardo Molinari shot 67 to take second at 12 under.
Local favorite Graeme McDowell never appeared in the hunt for his first Irish Open success, posting a 71 to finish three shots behind Ilonen.
Molinari, along with the England duo of Danny Willett and Matthew Baldwin, secured the three spots available for next month’s British Open at Royal Liverpool.
Former Augusta State golfer James Heath closed with 67 and tied for 38th.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Wichita, Kan., Monday qualifier Sebastian Cappelen won the Air Capital Classic for his first tour title, finishing with 4-under 66 for a one-stroke victory over Matt Weibring.
Cappelen, from Denmark, had an 18-under 262 total after opening with rounds of 66, 65 and 65 at Crestview Country Club. The 24-year-old former Arkansas player earned $108,000.
Augusta’s Scott Parel shot 69 and tied for 28th.