BOCA RATON — Scott McCarron knew it was a great shot, even though he didn’t see it.
McCarron hit a 7-iron from 179 yards out to within six feet of the hole on No. 18 Sunday, then sank the eagle putt to beat Kenny Perry and Carlos Franco by one shot to win the Allianz Championship.
The steady McCarron carded rounds of 66, 66 and 67 (17-under) on the Old Course at Broken Sound to win his third PGA Tour Champions event and earn $262,500.
“As soon as I hit it, I couldn’t see it at all, just went right in the sun so I had no idea — but it felt good,” McCarron said of his approach shot on the 507-yard, par 5 No. 18 hole. “It was one of those that just felt right on the button and I was able to hear the crowd cheering and I knew it was at least inside 10 feet.
“I was pleasantly surprised to get up there and see it was only about six feet straight up the hill.”
As for the winning putt, McCarron said, “as soon as I hit it, I knew I made it.”
McCarron played the par 3s at even for the tournament, but was 9-under on the par 4s and 8-under on the par 5s — including that closing eagle and another one on No. 7 (par 4) when he rolled in an approximately 80-foot putt off the green.
“I drive the ball fairly long and fairly straight, so I’m going to have some opportunities on the par 5s out here where I can reach a lot of them,” said McCarron, who hit 46 of 54 greens in regulation over the three rounds.
Perry had the best shot of getting to 17-under, but missed a 10-foot eagle putt on the final hole.
“I hit a great putt, just a great putt,” Perry said of his close call on No. 18. “It was right in the middle of the hole a foot from the hole and it just broke a hair to the right, hit the right side of the cup and it spit out.
“I couldn’t ask for a better putt.”
Franco hit his second shot on No. 18 into the green-side bunker, chipped out and holed a 14-foot birdie putt to get to 16-under.
Franco had the second-best round of the day, a 7-under 65, but like Perry, it wouldn’t be enough.
Paul Broadhurst and Doug Garwood (69) finished tied for fourth at 15-under, with Broadhurst turning in the low round of the day, an 8-under 64.
Seven golfers — including Fred Couples (69), Colin Montgomerie (66) and defending champion Esteban Toledo (66) — tied for sixth at 14-under.
Tom Pernice Jr. was 17-under through 13 holes in the final round, but a bogey on No. 14, a double-bogey on 15 and bogey on 16 ended his chances, as he finished at 13-under.
Olin Browne, who led the first two rounds and played 45 holes without a bogey, ran into trouble as his back nine started..
“I made a bad mistake, just misjudged the wind,” Browne said of his ill-timed double bogey on No. 10 that eventually led to a 13-under finish. “That was my only real mistake of the day, actually, my only real bad mistake of the week.”
The next stop for the PGA Tour Champions circuit is the Chubb Classic Friday through Sunday at TwinEagles Golf Club (Talon) in Naples, Florida.
Graham writes for the Treasure Coast Newspapers, part of the USA TODAY Network.