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Cook opens season with playoff victory

11:12 PM, Jan 20, 2013   |    comments
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Ka'upulehu-Kona, HI (Sports Network) - John Cook birdied the second playoff hole on Sunday to defeat overnight leader David Frost and win the season- opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.

Cook, who also won this tournament in 2011, secured his ninth Champions Tour victory.

"I was just very relaxed," Cook said of his winning birdie putt in a post- round television interview.

Frost began Sunday with a two-shot lead over Cook, who stayed within striking distance throughout his round and entered the last hole at Hualalai Golf Course down by a single shot.

Playing in the same grouping, Frost and Cook both sent their tee shot into a fairway bunker at the par-4 18th. The former then dropped his approach within 10 feet and the latter answered with a shot to about 15 feet.

Cook then firmly applied the pressure by sinking his birdie putt, and when Frost pulled his attempt to the left, the pair headed back to the 18th tee knotted at 17-under 199.

They both worked birdies on the first playoff hole before heading to the par-3 17th. There, Cook left himself a 10-foot straightaway birdie putt, while Frost was slightly away after his tee shot.

Facing an uphill putt, Frost left his attempt short, and Cook took advantage by rimming his birdie roll around the cup and in for the win.

"That's not really a putt I've ever had," said Cook. "You don't really practice that putt because you never think you're gonna be left at that hole. But it was a pretty simple putt to read, it was pretty straight and if I just hit it straight I let the rest take care of itself."

Bernhard Langer chipped in for birdie from the greenside rough on No. 18 to card a 64 and finish alone in third place at 16-under. The 2010 Charles Schwab Cup winner birdied 10 of his final 15 holes after picking up a pair of early bogeys.

"I gave myself a pep talk at that point and said to my caddy let's try to finish at 12-under ... and well, I did a lot better than that," said Langer.

Fred Couples shot 67 and took sole possession of fourth place at 14-under, while Kenny Perry (64) and Kirk Triplett (69) tied for fifth place at minus-13.

Tom Lehman, who won the final tournament last season to secure his second straight Charles Schwab Cup, recorded a 70 and finished in eighth place at 9- under, while Steve Elkington (71), Hale Irwin (70), Corey Pavin (69), Jay Haas (71) and Tom Kite (73) tied for ninth at minus-8.

The ten-time PGA Tour winner Elkington was making his Champions Tour debut. He turned 50 in December.

Tom Watson, who was recently named the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, finished in a tie for 23rd place at 3-under and defending champion Dan Forsman tied for 32nd at 1-over.

NOTES: Frost was looking to secure his fourth Champions Tour victory ... This was the first of 26 official events in the season-long competition for the Charles Schwab Cup ... The field was comprised of players who have won a Champions Tour major championship within the last five seasons or a Champions Tour co-sponsored and approved tournament in the last two years, plus sponsor exemptions ... Last year, Forsman carded rounds of 67-65-69 to earn a two-stroke win over Jay Don Blake.

The Sports Network

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