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Funk edges Waldorf to win Greater Hickory

CONOVER, North Carolina -- Fred Funk won the Greater Hickory Classic for his second Champions Tour title of the year and eighth overall, holing a 2-foot birdie putt on the final hole to beat Duffy Waldorf by a stroke.

The 56-year-old Funk closed with a 3-under 69 on Rock Barn's Jones Course to finish at 15-under 201. He also won eight times on the PGA Tour.

“I really wanted to win here really bad,” Funk said. “I've been knocking at the door on this tournament a lot ... but I was feeling the heat. When you get in contention, you always want to finish it.”

Funk had a bogey-free tournament and has gone 60 holes without a bogey since the 13th hole last week in the final round of the SAS Championship. He also extended his run of bogey-free holes at Rock Barn to 84, beginning with the seventh hole in the second round last year.

Also the winner at The Woodlands in Texas in May, Funk opened with consecutive 66s to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

Funk made his first birdie of the round on No. 12 after hitting his second shot out of a fairway divot, and added a second birdie on No. 14. The birdies allowed Funk to keep a share of the lead with Waldorf, who began the day at 8 under but climbed into contention with six birdies. Waldorf finished with a 66.

“I had two great days of putting, and that made the difference,” said Waldorf, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour who became eligible to play the 50-and-over tour in August. “That really got me going. I would've liked to have hit the ball closer a few more times, because I was rolling in the putts.”

However, Waldorf came up short on a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the lead. That opened the door for Funk, who put his second shot on the fringe, then chipped to set up the winning putt.

“I assumed Duffy was going to birdie No. 18,” Funk said. “When I saw that I needed a birdie to win, I played real aggressive with my tee shot. I just smoked a 3-wood, and hit a great chip. Still, I was pretty nervous about that putt.”

Mark Wiebe, the winner last year in a playoff, also birdied No. 18 to move into third at 10 under. He had a 70.

Chip Beck, Jay Don Blake, John Cook, first-round leader Dan Forsman and Peter Senior tied for fourth at 9 under. Blake and Cook shot 68, Forsman and Senior had 70s, and Beck shot 71.

Bernhard Langer, who the Charles Schwab Cup points leader who also tops the money list, had a 69 to tie for ninth at 8 under. Tom Lehman, second in the points race, finished at 3 under after a 71.

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Swede Jonas Blixt wins first PGA Tour golf title
Fred Funk chip shots onto the 18th hole of the Greater Hickory Classic Champions Tour golf tournament at Rock Barn in Conover, North Carolina, Sunday, Oct. 14. (AP)

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