Funk captures MasterCard Championship

Jan 21, 2008 - 6:46 AM KA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii (Ticker) -- Fred Funk birdied his way to another Champions Tour victory.

Funk carded a 7-under-par 65 on the strength of nine birdies to claim the season-opening MasterCard Championship on Sunday.

Following up on a second-round 63 on Saturday, the 51-year-old ended the round with a pair of birdies, finishing with a total of 21-under 195 to earn $300,000.

Funk had been even with third-round leader Allen Doyle before his final surge, collecting his second win on the Champions Tour since the start of 2007.

Doyle, who entered Sunday with a one-shot edge after birdies on his final two holes, signed for a 4-under 68 to finish two shots back.

Bernhard Langer and Jay Haas forged a tie for third at 17-under 199. Langer fired a 65, while Haas wrapped up the tournament with a 67.

The defending champion, Hal Irwin finished in a tie for 30th at 6-under 210 on the heels of a final-round 68.

Coming off a tie for 10th place in the PGA Tour's Sony Open last weekend, Funk made his run for the title on the back nine, finishing off a string of three straight birdies at No. 10 to slice Doyle's lead to two stokes.

Doyle was the only player among the winners who was unable to card a birdie on the par-5 10th.

Funk, who has three Champions Tour titles in 14 starts since 2006, added consecutive birdies at Nos. 12 and 13 to pull into a tie.

While he ended in strong fashion, the opposite could be said for how Funk started. Opening with a 67, he was tied for 17th.

That is the farthest position anyone has come from behind to win in a 54-hole Champions Tour event since Gil Morgan won last year's Wal-Mart First Tee Open in September.

The 2006 U.S. Senior Open winner, Doyle had built up a four-stroke lead after notching birdies on four of his first seven holes. However, the 59-year-old started to fall apart thereafter, losing two strokes on consecutive holes starting at No. 10 to see his lead cut to one.

Although he did get his fifth birdie of the day at No. 13 to force a tie with Funk, Doyle could do little to match Funk at the finish, settling for pars on each of his final five holes.

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