Calvin Peete, looking for only a "decent check" after a gum infection cost him his concentration the previous day, made up a seven-shot deficit with a nine-under-par 63 today to win the Atlanta Golf Classic and a career-best $72,000.
Peete, who skied to a 75 Saturday, recorded his fifth victory of the past 10 months. He wound up with a 10-under-par 206 in this $400,000 event which was shortened to 54 holes after Thursday's play was rained out.
Peete finished 1 1/2 hours ahead of the second-round leaders, having no notion that when he holed a 60-foot bunker shot for a birdie on the next-to-last hole and a four-foot putt for his ninth birdie on the final hole that they would give him a two-shot margin over runners-up Jim Colbert, Chip Beck and Don Pooley.
Colbert, winner of the Colonial National the previous Sunday, was at 11 under with a three-stroke lead on the field after 11 holes today, but had four bogeys in the last seven holes, including one at the final hole where he needed a birdie to force Peete into a playoff. He and Pooley both had 72s and Beck a 70 for 208s.
It was Peete's first victory this year, but raised his earnings to nearly $166,000. That is still barely half of what he earned last year when he won at Milwaukee, Williamsburg, Va., Endicott, N.Y., and Pensacola, Fla., in a 3 1/2-month span.
"Needless to say, gentlemen, this is the finest day I had since coming to Atlanta five or six years ago," said Peete. "I've always enjoyed playing on this course and today the course showed me it enjoyed having me play it."
Peete said nothing went wrong Saturday. "It's just that I have this gum infection that flared up and I lost my concentration. I just wanted to get the round over with and get in for some medication."