LUTZ, Fla. (AP) — Michael Allen didn’t let early struggles stop him from ending a long title drought.
Allen won the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am on Sunday for his second Champions Tour title, closing with a 3-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over Kenny Perry.
“It’s been a long time since I beat these guys,” Allen said. “I haven’t beat them very often. It’s very nice to get on 18 and finally go, ‘man, I got them all.’”
Allen also won the 2009 Senior PGA Championship. He was winless in 40 Champions Tour events since then.
“To be honest, I’ve played a lot of really good golf out here and I knew it was going to come again soon,” Allen said.
Allen finished the three-day event at 12 under. He took a five-shot advantage into the final round, tying the tournament record for the largest 36-hole margin.
“I’ve never had a five-shot lead,” Allen said. “Fuzzy (Zoeller) told me to play like I was broke, so I tried to do that. You never quite know what you really have to do until it’s over.”
Isao Aoki (1996) and Bruce Fleisher (2000) also took five-stroke leads into the final round of the tournament. Aoki wound up tying for eighth, and Fleisher won by four shots.
Allen bogeyed Nos. 3 and 4 at TPC Tampa Bay to cut his lead to one, but rebounded with birdies on two of the next three holes. He extended his advantage to four shots with birdies on 12 and 14.
“There was a little flutter of hope when he dropped a couple early, but he put that to rest pretty quick,” said Peter Senior, who finished third at 7 under. “He’s been playing really, really well. From tee to green, he’s just on a bit of a roll. He’s got his game in good shape.”
Allen has four top-three finishes in six events this year.
Perry eagled the par-4 first hole and par-5 12th during a round of 65. It was the fifth time in the event’s history that a player had a pair of eagles in a round.
“It got me in a good frame of mind,” Perry said. “It took a lot of pressure off of me. I just knew I needed to shoot 65 or lower. I’m six behind starting the day. I did it. I played a beautiful round of golf.”
The 63-year-old Fleisher, who lead after the first round, shot a 74 to finish at 4 over.
Senior shot a 67.
One of Perry’s playing partners, Corey Pavin, also had an eagle on 12. Pavin shot 70 and ended up fourth at 5 under
Kirk Triplett had a 72 to tie for eighth at 2 under in his first start on the 50-and-over tour.
Allen took over the lead in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race with 620. Bernhard Langer, who finished fifth Sunday, is second with 463.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.