Calvin Peete sails to easy win by six
Calvin Peete, who has won more PGA Tour events and more official tour money in the last four years than any other golfer, picked up his 10th triumph in that period by winning the 34th annual MONY Tournament of Champions in a runaway today with a tournament-record score of 21-under-par 267.
The 42-year-old Floridian, who did not take up golf until he was 22, shot 68 in the final round at La Costa Country Club and broke the previous Tournament of Champions record of 268, shot by Jerry Barber in 1960 when the event was held at the Desert Inn course in Las Vegas.
Peete led or shared the lead from start to finish in this first event on the 1986 tour.
Mark O'Meara, who shot 71 on the 6,911-yard, par-72 La Costa course, finished second at 273, followed by Phil Blackmar at 277. Scott Verplank, the first amateur to play in the Tournament of Champions, finished tied for fourth at 279 with Bernhard Langer of West Germany and Danny Edwards.
Peete, whose trademark is accuracy instead of distance, made that deadly shot-making pay off again as he picked up $90,000 for the triumph in the $500,000 tourney. This put his career earnings at $1,724,318 since he joined the tour in 1975. He has won 11 times.
But starting with the 1982 PGA Tour, Peete has won $1,338,928, more official tour earnings than any other golfer has made in that time. Peete has won 10 times in the last three and a half years, a stretch that began with victory in the Anheuser-Busch Classic in July 1982. He qualified for this year's Tournament of Champions by winning the Phoenix Open and Tournament Players Championship in 1985. Each of the 30 other golfers won a PGA Tour event or one of the four majors - the United States and British Opens, the Masters and the PGA Championship. Barber Wins Senior Event
Miller Barber shot 72 today for 282 to take the Senior PGA Tour division of the tournament by five shots over Arnold Palmer. Lee Elder was third in this limited field of seven seniors. Barber got $30,000 of the $100,000 senior purse.
The 5-10, 165-pound Peete has been bothered lately with back pain. But he gave no indication of any physical problems all week as he shot 68, 67, tied the course record of 64 in the third round and then finished with his second consecutive bogeyless round. He went the last 49 holes of the tourney without a bogey after taking only his third bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole of the second round Thursday.
There was very little wind all week at a course where wind has been a decisive factor in past years. The temperature ranged from 50 to 80 on four bright and dry days.
''Sure, the butterflies were there when I started today,'' Peete said. ''It's the first tournament of the year and you want to do well, so naturally you're a little nervous.''
He never gave any indication of nerves, though, as he started off by splitting the fairway with his first drive. It allowed him to easily par the first hole. Then he birdied the second. So did O'Meara, the local golfer from nearby Escondido, who was second to Peete by three shots after the third round.
Peete increased his lead to four shots at the third, a 178-yard, par-3 hole where O'Meara landed in the back bunker and took bogey 4 to Peete's regulation par 3. It was at the fifth hole where Peete virtually ended what contention there was. He saved par 4 by chipping to 2 feet, and O'Meara three-putted for bogey 5.
From then on it was almost routine for Peete, who has led the tour over the last six years in driving accuracy and hitting greens in regulation.
January 11th, 1986
New York Times