Surprises Abound At AT&T Champions Classic
Watson’s victory proves that anything can happen at the Valencia Country Club.
It was a whirlwind weekend for fans and golfers alike at the AT&T Champions Classic. It was a tournament where every day saw leaders fall through the ranks as others came from behind to place well.
On Friday, last year’s champion Tom Purtzer shot a five under par (-5) to coast into second place, behind Nick Price’s -6 day.
By late Saturday, that was old news as Purtzer shot a +1 and Price ended up with a +5 to fall from the top slots. In their place, a strong showing by Loren Roberts, Brad Bryant and Jay Haas took over the leader board.
Then, Sunday took a dramatic turn as Denis Watson, who shot a +1 and -1 on the previous days, shot a phenomenal -7 to come from behind and capture a 1st place tie with Brad Bryant and Loren Roberts.
Loren Roberts also benefited from last minute heroics, being launched into the playoff after nailing an eagle on the 18th hole. When asked if he was upset over loosing his second straight playoff at Valencia, Roberts said he wasn’t. “If I’d had a lead today and given it away, yes,” he told reporters. “I really don’t feel that bad, cause it was a 1000 to 1 shot that even got me into the playoff.”
Three playoff holes later, Watson had taken the trophy, and the $240,000 purse that went along with it. To read more about his victory, click here.
Now, as the tournament starts the clean up process, many are wondering if that will be the last time it ever graces the greens at the Valencia Country Club.
Last year, AT&T signed a one year extension that made this year’s tournament possible. So far though, no such contract has been signed, and other sponsors have an open opportunity to snatch up the tournament. But while gaining a new sponsorship may mean the games will continue, they do not necessarily mean they will continue in Santa Clarita. That would be determined when a sponsor is found.
The economic impact is sizable for Santa Clarita, with the professional action lasting over the course of three days. Certainly the City would like to see the tournament return, but, at least as of now, no official resolution has been discovered.