Doyle tops Watson for Senior Open title
By Doug Tucker
By Doug Tucker
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Allen Doyle figured he had maybe one friend among the thousands of people following him, Tom Watson and Loren Roberts in the final round of the U.S. Senior Open.
"My wife was out there," he deadpanned. "I think the rest were all for Tom."
Nevertheless, Doyle shot a steady 2-under 68 yesterday to overcome Watson's two-shot lead and home state advantage to win the Open for the second year in a row.
"I was in a no-lose position. If Tom won, he was supposed to win," Doyle said. "If you grabbed anybody and they said they were (rooting for Doyle) they were probably lying."
He enjoys being an underdog, he said, "because I am one."
A year ago in Kettering, Ohio, Doyle needed a closing round 63 to come from far back in the pack.
With the win yesterday, Doyle becomes the first back-to-back U.S. Senior Open winner since Gary Player in 1987-88 and the oldest ever at 57 years, 11 months and 17 days. Pocketing first-place money of $470,000, he's also the third U.S. Senior Open winner to post four straight rounds in the 60s.
Doyle went into the final round trailing only Watson, who built a two-stroke lead with consecutive rounds of 4-under-par 66 on the tricky Prairie Dunes layout.
But Watson couldn't get control of his putter. The popular Kansas City native three-putted two of the first three holes for bogey and never regained his rhythm, finishing with a 72 and a four-day total of 274, two shots behind Doyle's 8-under 272.
"I got off to a bad start ... and that put me in the defensive type of mood, it seemed like," Watson said. "And I just didn't get the offense working. I felt like I was playing defense all day. And as a result, I shot the score I did."