Levi holds on for second Champions Tour victory
by Associated Press
HUNT VALLEY, Md. (AP) - Wayne Levi flashed a thumbs-up sign moments after sinking his final putt Sunday, a gesture that characterized his style of play all weekend long.
The 52-year-old claimed his second career Champions Tour victory with a 4-under 68 to win the Constellation Energy Classic by two strokes at Hayfields Country Club.
Levi held off a surge by several opponents, including Hale Irwin, Rodger Davis and Jim Thorpe. Levi birded the par-5 16th to wrap up a wire-to-wire victory. He finished at 16-under 200.
"I think that birdie I made on 16, that really cemented things," Levi said.
Levi maintained his focus even though the top of the leaderboard became cluttered as Sunday's final round wore on.
"It's not like tennis - you're not just playing one guy," he said. "I thought the guys who were closer to me would play a little better, but they kind of died off right at the end."
Like his PGA Tour playing days, when he claimed 12 titles, Levi focused on hitting fairways and greens en route to victory.
"The last couple times I've been here, I played very well," Levi said. "I have a good feeling for the course. You add all that up together - bingo - it produces a victory."
Irwin tied the tournament record, which Levi matched in the first round Friday, with a 64 Sunday and recorded eight birdies and a 93-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 fifth. He made five straight birdies on the back nine to put some pressure on Levi, but not enough to force a playoff.
"I did everything I could today to close the gap," said Irwin, who finished second at 202.
Davis turned in a 31 on the front nine to stay in contention but couldn't catch the steady Levi. Davis bogeyed the par-4 17th and took third at 203.
Thorpe matched the tournament record with a 64 of his own to finish at 204. He carded five of his eight birdies on the back nine.
"I came from out of nowhere today," he said. "I'm very happy with that."
D.A. Weibring was five shots back at 205. Weibring closed with a 66 to finish in a tie for sixth place. Tom Watson shot a final-round 71 and finished seven strokes back. He is scheduled for hip surgery on Tuesday.
Levi was steady throughout all three rounds, making it tough for the rest of the field.
"We knew we had to go out and make birdies," Thorpe said. "When (Levi) went out and shot 64 on Friday, I knew he was the guy to beat. I was just a little bit too far back to make up that much ground."