Funk wins Champions event on final hole

Associated Press Modified: May 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm •  Published: May 6, 2012
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THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) — Fred Funk can attach one more good memory to the Woodlands Country Club.

Funk birdied the final hole Sunday to beat Tom Lehman by a stroke in the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship.

With 16-year-old son Taylor carrying the bag, Funk birdied four of the last five holes to win on the same course where he won the Houston Open in 1992 for the first of his eight victories on the regular tour. He met his second wife, Sharon, at a post-tournament event that year and Sharon was the first person to run onto the green and hug him Sunday.

"It was a storybook-type week," Funk said.

Tied with one hole left, Funk hit his approach on No. 18 to 2 feet. Lehman missed his birdie putt, and Funk tapped in for a 5-under 67 and his seventh victory on the 50-and-over tour and first since the 2010 Tradition. He finished at 14 under.

The 55-year-old Funk became the first player in five years to win a regular tour and Champions Tour event on the same course. Tom Watson won the 1980 British Open and 2007 Senior British Open at Muirfield.

More importantly, Funk feels is if he has finally returned to form after three years of health issues. He developed a staph infection and had knee replacement surgery in 2009 and had two surgeries on his left thumb late last year.

"I wasn't sure whether I was going to have a career," Funk said. "I've been really blessed with this opportunity to play again, and play at a high level. I didn't want to give up yet. I love it too much."

Lehman closed with a 68. He made three straight birdies on the back nine to build a two-shot lead, but then hit his approach to the par-5 15th over the green and settled for a par. Funk birdied the 15th and made a short birdie putt on the par-3 16th to tie for the lead.

"The whole tournament kind of turned on 15," Lehman said. "I haven't been this disappointed after a tournament in a long time."

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