Don Pooley fired a second straight four-under-par 67 on Sunday to claim a three shot victory in the Allianz Championship in West Des Moines. Pooley entered the final round with a one shot in a tightly bunched field in which eight players were within three shots of the lead. He says he knew he had to go strong and shoot a good score, but says he played well all week long. Former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden had four birdies on the front nine and roared to the lead with a birdie at the par-five 11th. But moments later he bogeyed the 12th and Pooley sank an eagle putt at the 11th to give him the lead for good. It marked a great comeback for Pooley. The 2002 U.S. Senior opened champion had surgery on an injured shoulder in January and did not even begin to compete until June. Rhoden was in the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption but had the lead with seven holes to play. Three straight bogies dropped him back into a tie for fifth but for him it was still a successful weekend. He says he had three holes where his putter was like a sledgehammer. Rhoden was asked if at any point he thought he was going to win. He says he wasn’t thinking about it. He says he was hitting the ball well except for his putter on three holes. Rhoden has been very successful on a celebrity tour over the years but is trying to prove he can compete on the Champions Tour. He says he always thought he could if he could just get out and play.
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