Pernice Jr. wins Champions Tour debut

Sept. 28, 2009

Former UCLA All-American Tom Pernice, Jr. became the 15th player to win in his Champions Tour debut, holing a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Nick Price and David Frost in the SAS Championship.

Pernice, a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, fired a 3-under 69 to finish at 13-under 203 on the Prestonwood Country Club course.

Frost shot a 67, and Price had a 68.

Pernice is the third player this year to win in his debut, following Tom Lehman, who teamed with Bernhard Langer in the Liberty Mutual Legends, and Senior PGA winner Michael Allen. In the 2007 SAS Championship, Mark Wiebe won his tour debut. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player also won in their first senior starts.

Dan Forsman, after battling Pernice for much of the day, shot a 70 to finish fourth at 11-under.

Pernice's only bogey of the week came on No. 9 -- his 44th hole of the event -- after he hit his tee shot into the water. That left him tied with Forsman.

Three poor tee shots later, and Pernice was a stroke behind.

Forsman returned the favor by three-putting 12 and 13, missing a 3-foot par putt on the par 571-yard par-5 12th. After 13, Cochran and Forsman were a shot behind Pernice.

In a 27-year PGA career, Pernice won more than $13 million with victories at the 1998 Buick Invitational and the 2001 International. In 2008, he recorded five Top 10 finishes and won more than $1.1 million.

Pernice, 50, graduated from UCLA in 1982 and turned professional shortly thereafter. He earned All-America honors at UCLA in 1980 and '81 and was awarded the Pac-10 Golfer of the Year in 1980.

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