PGA Tour Champions
Scott Parel wins the battle of the par 5s and the inaugural ClubCorp Classic
Alex Bierens de Haan
The inaugural ClubCorp Classic, boiled down, was a 12-hole tournament, the four par 5s at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, proving the difference. Scott Parel played them in 5-under on Sunday, 12-under over three rounds, and then defeated Steven Alker and Gene Sauers with a par on the first playoff hole.
The victory was the fourth on the PGA Tour Champions for Parel, a 56-year-old who did not turn professional until he was 31 and labored in golf’s hinterlands until joining the senior tour in 2016.
Parel closed with a six-under par 65 to get into a playoff when Alker failed to birdie the 550-yard 18th hole. All three finished 54 holes in 11-under 202. Alker, 50, from New Zealand, was 11 under on the par 5s for the tournament coming to the last hole, the 54th, where he made par to close out a 68, sending the tournament to a playoff. Seeking a second straight victory, he had led most of the day, but a back-nine of even-par 35 provided the opening Sauers and Parel needed.
Returning to 18 for the playoff, both Alker and Sauers hit their second shots into a penalty area, leading to bogeys, while Parel made a two-putt par.
“I’m just glad to finally win a playoff,” Parel said. “I’m 0 and 3 in these things on this tour. I played really, really well. I had one bad hole where I made kind of a bad decision, but then came back pretty well, made three birdies at the end. And then the playoff, I was very fortunate. I certainly didn't think par would win, especially after where we all were with our tee shots. The wind got a little difficult, I think it might have changed a little bit on those guys.”
The bad decision came on the par-4 12th, where he made a double-bogey. But he followed with consecutive birdies and another on 18. Meanwhile, Sauers, who shot the best round of the day, an 8-under 63, birdied the final two holes to join the playoff.