Jay Don Blake is beginning to know he can be a stalwart on the Champions Tour.
The 53-year-old defeated Mark O’Meara in a two-hole Boeing Classic sudden-death playoff Sunday afternoon – the fourth in eight years at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge – to win his third 50-and-over tournament since last September.
Only Seattle Fred Couples can match that win total in that span.
“I do feel like I belong,” Blake said. “I feel like I can compete when I get things going well and playing well. Not in an arrogant way, but I don’t really feel like I’m intimidated by the players out here. There’s a lot of talent out here, but I just feel like … if I play my game, I can kind of be in the hunt and make it interesting.”
Well ahead of the lead groups, Blake birdied the homeward par 5s – the 15th and 18th holes – to reach 10-under. And O’Meara two-putted from 35 feet on the finishing hole to join him in a playoff at 206. Both golfers shot matching 4-under 68s in regulation.
O’Meara had the best chance to win on the first extra hole (No. 18), but his 6-footer for birdie stayed right of the target.
“Let him back into the game,” O’Meara said.
Both golfers were near the green in two shots on the second playoff hole (No. 18), but Blake’s chip from the back fringe stopped within tap-in distance for birdie, and O’Meara – who was well left of the green, and in deep rough – faced a 16-footer to match him.
O’Meara’s putt to extend the playoff stayed right of the hole, and Blake had his first win since the 2011 Songdo IBD Championship.
“Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, if he’s won twice, he ought to win more, more more,'” Blake said. “I didn’t perform as well as I would like and … got frustrated. But coming here, I guess the hard work and the patience finally paid off.”
NOTES – Mark Calcavecchia shot 70 on Sunday, and finished tied for fourth at 8-under 208 – the best showing by a defending Boeing Classic champion. … Willie Wood, last week’s winner at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in New York, was in third alone at 9-under 207. … Talk about a meltdown, after his first-hole birdie, Fred Funk was 5-under – and in the top 10. He ended up shooting the highest round in Boeing Classic history – an 88. Funk recorded a score of 12 on the par-3 12th where he lost four golf balls (two from the tee, two from a greenside bunker), and finished up with a fifth. … The final round Sunday drew 28,000 spectators – and the tournament finished with a tournament-record 81,000 for the week.