Marco Dawson wins Tucson Conquistadores Classic

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Marco Dawson won the Tucson Conquistadores Classic on Sunday for his first Champions Tour’s title, breaking a tie with a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th hole and closing with two pars for a two-stroke victory.

The 51-year-old Dawson shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 13-under 203 in the first-year event at Tucson National, the longtime home of the PGA Tour’s defunct Tucson Open. He opened with consecutive 67s to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

”I’m just thinking about all the work I put in over the years, especially the last few years – more mental work than anything,” Dawson said. ”I’m really happy with the way I played. I’m just glad I played the game that I wanted to play.”

Dawson won in his 21st start on the 50-and-over tour. He’s winless in 412 PGA Tour starts and has one victory in 161 events on the Tour.

Dawson bogeyed the par-4 15th to fall into a tie with Bart Bryant at 12 under. On the 16th, Dawson’s birdie putt barely tumbled in, and Bryant made a bogey after driving into a bunker.

”I just wanted to make sure the speed was right,” Dawson said. ”I knew there wasn’t going to be much break, but the speed had to be right. And the speed was just perfect. It just fell in.”

Bryant had a 70 to finish second for the second straight event. He lost a playoff to Lee Janzen last month in Naples, Florida.

”I didn’t hit my irons as good as I need to, but Marco played good,” Bryant said. ”It’s a tough course to bring it home on because you have a few white-knuckle shots and the greens are firm. So, I give him all the credit. He handled it better than we did.”

Mark O’Meara was third at 10 under after a 66.

Tom Pernice Jr. was another stroke back after a 68.

Jesper Parnevik struggled in his Champions Tour debut, shooting 71-74-71 to tie for 42nd at even par. The five-time PGA Tour winner turned 50 on March 7. He missed the cut two weeks ago in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open after injuring his back in a fall during a practice round.