ORLANDO, Fla. — Davis Love III had a nice pitch shot on No. 18 and son Dru finished off the birdie to capture the Father-Son Challenge title Sunday.
With Larry and Josh Nelson already in at 22-under for the two-day scramble format, both Loves misfired in trying to reach the green in two at the par-5 finishing hole. Dru, an Alabama freshman who won five Georgia state titles in high school, went long and right near the grandstand at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. Davis watched his ball roll onto the bank of a greenside pond.
But the elder Love found the right touch on his pitch from Dru’s position and his son made the winning putt.
“We made it a little tougher on ourselves than we wanted,” said Davis Love III, acknowledging he was more nervous standing over the pitch shot than watching his son putt. “But it was great to leave that putt for Dru so he could make it to win.”
The Loves teamed for an 11-under 61 in the final round. Davis collects the entire $200,000 first prize, since Dru plays for the Crimson Tide’s No.1-ranked golf team.
“I definitely learned a lot this week,” Dru Love said. “I know this isn’t quite as big a tournament as the PGA, but you see the way that it’s supposed to be done.”
The Nelsons had seven consecutive birdies on the back nine, capped by Larry’s 30-footer at the par-3 17th. But the run ended strangely at No. 18, when Larry’s 10-foot attempt hit the back of the hole and somehow popped back onto the putting surface.
“I can’t wait to get home and see it on replay,” the elder Nelson said. “It went in the left-center of the hole; it wasn’t like it was just on the edge. I closed my eyes, then I looked up and the ball’s over there.”
Said Josh Nelson: “We thought an angel blew it in on 17; we think a little devil kept it out on 18.”
The Nelsons, who shot a 60 in the final round, were seeking to bring the family a third consecutive Father-Son title.
Larry and Josh teamed for the 2007 title, with elder son Drew stepping in to win in 2008 before the event went on a three-year hiatus.
Vijay Singh and son Qass finished two shots back after a 61, followed by Mark and Shaun O’Meara (63) and David Duval with stepson Nick Karavites (61).
Jack Nicklaus and son Gary, two shots off the pace to start the day, finished four back after a 63. The duo briefly moved in front after a pair of early eagles, but couldn’t overcome a nine-hole stretch in which they made just one birdie.
“We had a good look on every hole,” Jack Nicklaus said. “We never came close all week to making a bogey. But we didn’t make enough birdies.”
Gary Nicklaus, a PGA Tour member from 2000-02, is a reinstated amateur who qualified for last summer’s U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills.