Blake triumphs at Harding Park

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Jay Don Blake has shot an even-par 71 to win the prestigious, season-closing Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Jay Don Blake has shot an even-par 71 on a tough Sunday at San Francisco’s picturesque TPC Harding Park to win the prestigious, season-closing Charles Schwab Cup championship.

Almost two months after surviving a five-hole playoff to win the Songdo Championship in South Korea for his first win since 1991, Blake calmly worked his way through the final round while a pack of chasing contenders took turns to take a crack at the lead and, in the end, his 8-under 276 72-hole total was enough to give him victory by two shots from four fellow Americans.

They were Mark Calcavecchia, Michael Allen, Loren Roberts and Jay Haas.

South Africa’s David Frost was a shot back alone in fifth place after closing with a 1-over 72.

Blake hit 12 of 14 fairways, made a pair of nice par saves out of the sand on the back nine and then whisked up the tournament-winning par on 18 after taking a bogey on the par-3 17th.

Indeed, the only time the normally phlegmatic Blake showed any emotion came after he made the six-foot par putt for victory at the last.

He pumped his right fist twice and tipped his cap to the crowd before disappearing in a wave of family and friends who rushed onto the green.

Blake earned $440,000 for winning and took an additional $200,000 for finishing fourth in the overall standings in the Charles Schwab Cup points race won by Tom Lehman.

Lehman only finished in an 18th place tie on Sunday, but it was enough to hold off Calcavecchia, who needed a win or a two-man tie for second to win and may have been kicking himself for the birdie he missed from just 134 yards at the 18th hole

“The ending was pretty tight,” Lehman said. “(Calcavecchia) just hung in there and overcame a bunch of mistakes. To come in here knowing you have to finish second or better, and finish tied for second for second with just one too many guys was impressive.”

Blake, meanwhile, had a four-shot lead with five holes to go and admitted he was feeling the strain.

“I was nervous, tense, stressed, the whole thing,” Blake said afterwards. “But I still tried to stay patient and play my game and just hoped that I could make some birdies and stay out on top.”

Allen, second in the tournament in 2010, got to 7 under twice but couldn’t take advantage. He birdied the 16th but a bogey on 17 dropped him back.

David Frost, who shared the lead after two rounds, also got to 7 under before fading.

With Blake cruising, the only drama surrounded the points title – and there was plenty of that with Calcavecchia only missing at the very last.

“It’s kind of the story of my whole career,” Calcavecchia said. “I’ve had a lot of seconds in my day and a lot of close calls, so it could have been a lot better.”

TOP 10 LEADERBOARD

276 Jay Don Blake 71 68 66 71
278 Michael Allen 69 69 69 71, Mark Calcavecchia 71 68 70 69, Loren Roberts 72 71 65 70, Jay Haas 68 72 67 71
279 David Frost (Rsa) 69 69 69 72
280 Kenny Perry 70 69 71 70, Joey Sindelar 71 70 68 71, Russ Cochran 74 69 69 68, David Eger 73 72 66 69, Fred Couples 68 70 74 68

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