BLAINE, Minn. (AP) - Kenny Perry got the “warmup” he was looking for heading into the PGA Championship in his home state of Kentucky.
Capped by a 15-foot putt, Perry scrambled for a birdie on the 18th hole Sunday to beat hard-charging Bernhard Langer by a stroke in the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship.
The 53-year-old Perry closed with a 7-under 65 for his second victory of the year and seventh overall on the 50-and-over tour. He finished at 23-under 193 at TPC Twin Cities.
“This was a warmup week for me to work on my short game,” Perry said. “From 100 yards and in this week I was better than I ever can remember in my career. I was hitting it around the pin and I was converting. I was making putts.”
But, to be successful at Valhalla, Perry knows he’ll have to drive it exceptionally well and successfully hit his hybrids.
“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Perry said. “Hopefully, I can carry some of this momentum over.”
Perry lost a playoff to Mark Brooks in the 1996 PGA at Valhalla, and helped the United States win the 2008 Ryder Cup at the course.
Langer, the Senior British Open winner last week by a tour-record 13 shots, shot 63. He overcame a four-shot deficit on the back nine and was tied with Perry going to the par-5 18th.
In the second-to-last group, Langer’s second shot just cleared the water hazard and landed in the tall grass. He chipped on from an awkward stance and two-putted for par.
“My goal today was to shoot 8 under thinking 21 under should have a chance to win. I shot 9 under, outdid myself, and still didn’t win,” he said. “What Kenny did this week is pretty exceptional.”
One group behind, Perry hit his second shot into the grandstand behind the green. After a drop, he pitched to about 15 feet and made the putt.
“It was an easy putt for me,” he said. “I don’t always make them, but I feel like I should make them and I knocked it right in the middle.”
Jeff Maggert, Gene Sauers and Marco Dawson tied for third at 20 under. Maggert and Sauers shot 65, and Dawson had a 67.
It was the eighth straight year the tournament’s winning score was at least 15 under, including three totals of better than 20 under. David Frost set the record at 25-under 191 in 2010. The scoring average of 69.609 is the lowest in the tournament’s 22-year history.
Perry, who also won the Regions Tradition in May, birdied four of six holes around the turn for a four-shot lead over Langer, Maggert, Dawson and Sauers.