SNOQUALMIE, Wa. — The last time Billy Andrade won a stroke-play event, he held off Phil Mickelson in 2000 in Las Vegas. On Sunday in the Boeing Classic, Andrade beat the likes of Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples and Mark O’Meara to claim his first individual title on the Champions Tour.
“Today was a grind. Today was not a day where it was fun,” Andrade said. “Our whole group really, we were not struggling, but we were all just grinding.”
The 51-year-old Andrade closed with a 1-over 73 to finish at 9-under 207 at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. He teamed with Joe Durant to win the Legends of Golf in April for his first Champions Tour title.
Langer was second after a 71. Couples (69), O’Meara (68), Guy Boros (68) and Fran Quinn (69) tied for third at 7 under.
Andrade’s 73 was the highest final-round score by a tour winner since Roger Chapman had a 1-over 71 in the 2012 Senior PGA Championship.
Fifteen years ago, Andrade won in Las Vegas at a time he was on the verge of losing his card on the PGA Tour and had already sent a check to attend qualifying school. That was the last of his four PGA Tour victories.
“I was really struggling,” Andrade said. “I sucked it up and won that tournament and really jump-started the second leg of my career.”
He opened with rounds of 69 and 65 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.
Andrade was at 11 under until he got to the fourth where he made triple bogey on the par 4. Andrade’s tee shot went out of bounds, he later needed to take a drop out of the woods and chipped in from off the green to make seven. Andrade said he was potentially looking at making nine on the hole if the ball didn’t hit the pin and drop.
Andrade had a bogey on the seventh hole and fell into a tie for the lead, but his most important shot came on the par-5 eighth. Andrade thought his third shot from the fairway was headed for the pond fronting the green. Instead, it found the putting surface and he made a 15-foot birdie putt. He added another birdie at No. 12 to take a three-shot lead and parred the final six holes to hang on.
Langer started the day in second place, but went 15 holes between birdies before dropping a short putt at the 17th to get back to 7 under. He reached the par-5 18th in two, but his eagle putt slid past the hole and Andrade two-putted to complete the victory.
“Billy made some putts,” Langer said. “I think we all played fairly similar, but he made a couple of putts and the rest of us didn’t.”
Couples, the hometown favorite, moved into contention after making eagle on the par 5 eighth, but bogeyed the 11th after his tee shot found the thick rough left of the fairway. He recovered with birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to reach 6 under but missed a short birdie putt at the 15th and bogeyed the 17th. Couples and O’Meara both eagled the 18th to finish at 7 under.