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PHOTO UPDATE: Lasting impression: Forsman wins AT&T Champions Classic

Edges Pooley in single-hole playoff

Posted: March 16, 2009 1:05 a.m.
Updated: March 16, 2009 11:18 a.m.

After shaking hands, runner-up Don Pooley (left) and winner Dan Forsman walk off Valencia Country Club's 18th green, where a single-hole playoff decided the 2009 AT&T Champions Classic.

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Maybe it's destiny or something in the poana greens at Valencia Country Club.

Just off the 18th green Sunday and finished with his 54 regulation holes at the AT&T Champions Classic, Champions Tour golfer Dan Forsman turned and asked where a playoff hole would be played.

Even though Don Pooley had the power to make it a moot point, Forsman proved prophetic, because for the third straight AT&T Champions Classic, a playoff occurred.

With a birdie on No. 18 Forsman defeated Pooley to win the final AT&T Champions Classic at Valencia Country Club. AT&T didn't renew its sponsorship contract, leaving the tournament in doubt for the future.

Forsman and Pooley both finished at 11-under for the tournament.

It was recovery and comeback that were keys to Forsman's win, as he averted disaster on his 54th hole and came back from five strokes down heading into the day to win the championship.

"To stand here now in light of what happened (on the 54th hole) and to be the champion, realizing Don Pooley could very easily be sitting in this seat as champion, is very humbling indeed," Forsman said.

Forsman's second shot on No. 18 Sunday landed off the cart path to the right of the green.

It was originally ruled out of bounds, but was measured and ruled in bounds.

He got relief from a nearby fence and therefore was able to make a drop.

He would later par the hole.

Pooley had his opportunities, though.

On the 54th hole, he was tied for the lead at 11-under.

Pooley, from the left bunker just below the green, landed his next shot 10 feet behind the cup.

His ensuing putt stayed left and missed the edge.

He would tap in to force the playoff.

"I thought I had one right there," Pooley said of the putt.

Forsman would reach the 18th green in the playoff in three shots.

He then sank a nine-footer for birdie.

"I count on him making his putts so I knew I needed to make mine," Forsman said of Pooley. "That meant a whole lot to me. I've been battling the putter all week. My nerves had been a little edgy."

Pooley was to the right of the cup, six feet out going downhill.

His putt for birdie was too firm, though, and lipped out, giving the title to Forsman.

"I tried to jam it in," Pooley said. "I'm happy with the way I played.

I'm not happy that I didn't win, but I did the best I could and players are good out here."

Pooley was in the final group Sunday with Joey Sindelar and Jay Haas.

Sindelar led after each of the first two rounds, but what had been his saving grace through the first two rounds, failed him Sunday - the back nine.

Sindelar was a combined 8-under on the back-nine Friday and Saturday, but was 3-over Sunday, bogeying three holes.

Sindelar finished tied for fourth at 9-under with Ben Crenshaw and Fulton Allem.

His play opened the door to Forsman, Pooley and Haas.

Haas moved to 11-under after 16 holes, but bogeyed 17 and parred 18.

"I felt like I was right there," Haas said. "Not in control by any means, but I'd have a chance in the end. On 17, I put it in the fairway bunker and got an eight or nine-footer for par and just whiffed the putt. I misjudged it."

Forsman took advantage as he was one group ahead.

He was 6-under on the afternoon, birdieing four holes on the back nine.

This was the first time the 50-year-old played Valencia Country Club on the Champions Tour, but was his 12th start on the tour.

It marked the first win of his Champions Tour career and first victory since his PGA Tour win in 2002 at the SEI Pennsylvania Classic.


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