Originally created 07/04/05

Streck gets first Champions Tour win



\r\r

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. - Ron Streck just keeps making golf history.

\r\r

Streck shot a 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the Commerce Bank Championship by three strokes, making him the first player with a victory on the PGA Tour, the Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour.

\r\r

"It means I'm getting old," he said of his multi-tour accomplishment. "It really doesn't do that much for me. I don't have an ego for that. I'll let you guys tell people about it. I don't feel any different than when I started."

\r\r

The 50-year-old - he turns 51 on July 17 - became the first wire-to-wire winner on the Champions Tour this year and his three-tour feat only adds to his golf fame.

\r\r

He was the first player to use a metal wood in competition on the PGA Tour in 1981. That wasn't even his first claim to golfing fame as his 63-62 finish to win at San Antonio two years earlier is the second-best two-round total in PGA Tour history.

\r\r

"Maybe I qualify as one of the guys now," he said.

\r\r

Jim Ahern had the best closing round, a 6-under 65, and he caught Streck at 14 under on the 15th hole, but it wasn't enough as he finished at 13-under 200, three behind Streck after three trips around the 6,989-yard Red Course at Eisenhower Park.

\r\r

Streck's win ended the Champions Tour's run of four straight playoffs. He won $225,000 from the $1.5 million purse. He started the day 65th on the money list with $98,243. His best finish this year was a tie for 21st last week at the Bank of America Championship.

\r\r

"All in all, I played real solid for three days," he said.

\r\r

Dan Pohl (68) and Craig Stadler (69) were another stroke back at 201, while Tom Jenkins had a 70 and was at 11 under.

\r\r

There was a five-way tie for sixth. R.W. Eaks had a 68 Sunday, while Darrell Kestner, Gary McCord and D.A. Weibring all had 70s and Dave Eichelberger a 71.

\r\r

Streck won twice on the PGA Tour - at San Antonio in 1979 and at Houston in 1981 - and he won the Yuma Open on the Nationwide Tour in 1993, beating a then-24-year-old Chris DiMarco in a playoff.

\r\r

Sixteen players started the final round within five shots of the lead and the pack stayed close for a while. Nine players were tied at 10 under, two strokes behind Streck through seven holes.

\r\r

That's when Streck ended a run of pars with his first of four birdies in the round. Streck, who opened with a 9-under 62, had just two bogeys in the tournament, both in the second round.

\r\r

Ahern, who has one top-10 finish this year, was one stroke behind Streck when he went to the 18th tee. He pushed his drive to the right near a bush on the par-4 and couldn't get his second shot to the green, the first time all day he didn't reach in regulation.

\r\r

His chip from the front left rough went well behind the hole and he two-putted for his only bogey in a round that had seven birdies.

\r\r

"I saw a replay of that tee shot and man alive, that was awful," Ahern said of the drive that had him biting the shaft of the club before the ball hit the ground. "I did as well as I could with the second shot and then had a nasty lie with the third.

\r\r

"I had a 65. I had a good day and hung in there. I was proud of myself."

\r\r

Ahern, playing three groups ahead of Streck, tied Streck at 14 under with a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th.

\r\r

Streck took the lead for good at the par-4 14th when he made a 20-foot birdie putt to go 15 under. He kept the lead with a 7-foot par putt on the par-3 16th just minutes before Ahern's closing bogey, then birdied the par-5 17th.

\r\r

"Having that lead on the 18th tee I went from having to stay in the fairway to having to stay on the golf course," Streck said. "I didn't tell people but I thought I would win this year. I don't know if anyone believed it except me."

\r\r

Two-time defending champion Jim Thorpe closed with a 1-under 70 and finished at 207, 10 strokes out of the lead. Thorpe set the course record in 2003 with a second-round 60. Divots: The Champions Tour has a major tournament as its next three events: Ford Senior Players Championship, Senior British Open and U.S. Senior Open. There is a week off between the Senior Players and Senior British.... George Archer (1990-92) is the only player to win this event three times. Thorpe, Lee Trevino (1994-95) and Bruce Fleisher (1999-00) are the only other multiple winners.... Weibring's 70 ended his run of nine straight rounds in the 60s, the best stretch on tour this year.... Ahern has two Champions Tour wins, the last in 2003.