Atlanta’s Billy Andrade made a strong run at capturing his first Champions Tour title since 2015, but settled for second place after losing in a playoff Sunday to Kirk Triplett at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Triplett, who won the event for the third time – the first two in 2012 and ’13 – birdied the first playoff hole, the par-5 18that Pebble Beach. Both he and Andrade layed up with their second shots, and Triplett holed his birdie attempt after Andrade missed.
It was a missed opportunity for Andrade, who began the day in second place behind 36-hole leader Steve Flesch, but moved to the front when Flesch shot 41 on the back nine Sunday.
Andrade, who began the final round two shots behind Flesch, closed within one of the lead at the turn, carding three birdies on the first six holes along with a bunker to bunker par.
A birdie on the difficult par-4 10thgave Andrade the lead, as Flesch took the first of his five bogeys on the incoming nine at Pebble Beach.
Andrade made three bogeys on the back nine along with three birdies, with Triplett carding three birdies coming in for a bogey-free 67. Triplett trailed Andrade by three shots with nine holes to play.
The first of Andrade’s bogeys came on the par-4 11th, when he hit his approach shot into a greenside bunker and was unable to get up and down. He was in another bunker on the lengthy par-3 12thbut saved par, and moved two shots in front with a birdie at the par-4 13th.
Andrade drove in a fairway bunker on the par-5 14thand hit the lip coming out, with his ball flying straight up in the air and landing just a few feet outside the bunker. He needed to get up and down from over the green t o save a bogey.
After almost chipping for birdie at the 15th, Andrade again missed the green at 16, but was unable to save his par. He came to the 18thneeding birdie to tie Triplett, and after a big tee shot, hit his second just over the green. He chipped past the hole but nailed his birdie putt to force a playoff.
“You give yourself opportunities and you can’t win all of them,” said Andrade, whose last victory came in the 2015 Charles Schwab Cup Championship. It was Andrade’s third victory that season, his second on the Champions Tour, but he has been winless since.
“This one’s going to hurt a little bit. I had opportunities on the back nine. I made a couple mistakes and made a couple bogeys. I had a wedge into 11 hit it in the bunker. Then I drove it in the bunker on 14 and I barely got it out. That was an unfortunate mistake there.
“But you know what, I birdied the last hole when I had to to get into the playoff, so I can’t really complain too much. This is all gravy. We’re out here playing old man golf at great places like Pebble Beach. But in this situation, you don’t want to lose, you want to win. Disappointing.
Andrade opened the tournament with a 2-under 70 at Pebble Beach, with his only bogey coming when he took four shots to get in the hole after hitting his second into a greenside bunker on the par-5 second hole, his 10thof the day.
He was 5-under after 16 holes the second day at Poppy Hills, but bogeyed the 17thand made par on the par-5 18thwith a penalty shot.
It was Andrade’s third runner-up finish on the Champions Tour this season. He tied for second in the Regions Tradition in Birmingham, one of the Champions Tour’s majors, but ended up six shots behind Steve Stricker. Andrade also tied for second in Japan, three behind Scott McCarron.
Andrade’s best chance for victory previously in 2019 came early in the season in Biloxi, Miss. He made three birdies in a 4-hole stretch on the back nine, but bogeyed two of the last three holes to miss a playoff by a shot, finishing in third place.
With a total of nine top 10s in 21 starts, Andrade stands 10thon the money list with more than $1.22 million in earnings.
There is only one event left in the regular season, with the Schwab Cup Playoffs beginning Oct. 18 in Richmond, Va.
This is Andrade’s sixth season on the tour, and he has finished in the top 30 every year, placing fourth during his three-win season in 2015. He teamed with Joe Durant for his first victory in the Legends of Golf, and picked up his first individual win later that year in Seattle before closing out his second season on tour with a playoff win over Bernhard Langer in Arizona.
Andrade has had plenty of chances to add to his win total over the past four seasons. He had seven finishes of fifth or better in 2016, including a pair of runner-up showings. He had three top-4 finishes in 2017, two of them majors, and was solo second in the2018 tournament in Biloxi.
During his PGA Tour career, Andrade won four times, the last in Las Vegas in 2000.
Andrade is one of two Georgians in the top 10 in the Schwab Cup standings. Augusta’s Scott Parel is eighth on the money list with a trio of runner-up finishes, two of them playoff losses to Kevin Sutherland in Biloxi and Des Moines.
Parel is in his fourth season on the Champions Tour, winning twice in 2018 and placing second eight times since 2017.
Savannah’s Gene Sauers has finished no lower than 26thin his first six seasons on the tour, four of them in the top 20, but is 43rdon the money list with just two top 10s in 2019, both of them ties for fifth. His lone win came in the 2016 U.S. Senior Open. He has eight career runner-up finishes between 2013 and ’18.
Larry Mize of Columbus is in his 11thseason on the tour and is currently 78thin earnings without a top-30 finish in an individual event.
Duluth’s Scott Dunlaphas competed in only four tournaments this year – all of them majors – after undergoing offseason wrist surgery, and is just inside the top 100 on the money list. He contended for 36 holes in the British Senior Open, but fell back on the weekend and tied for 29th. Dunlap placed between 13thand 33rdon the money list each season, with a win in Seattle as a rookie on tour in 2014.
Sea Island’s Davis Love III has played five tour events since August, but has not finished in the top 30 in any of them and is just outside the top 100.