Corey Pavin used an eagle-3 to destroy Tom Watson's hopes and then hung on for a two-stroke victory today in the Hawaiian Open golf tournament.
Pavin, 26, came from three strokes back with a wind-blown six-under-par 66 and claimed his third victory in as many years on the PGA Tour with a 272 total, 16 under par.
The triumph was worth $90,000 and pushed Pavin's earnings for the season to $103,907.
"One of the best rounds I've ever played. With the wind, and the pressure, definitely one of the best I've ever played," said Pavin, who increased his career earnings to $731,950.
"I made a mistake on the 17th (his only bogey of the day), but, overall, I was very pleased. It was a solid round, but I liked the way I was acting on the course. I played within myself. That was the key. I was pleased with all phases of my game."
He said he hit 17 greens, and on the green he did miss, he nearly chipped in for a birdie.
Watson, the third-round leader who has not won a tournament since the summer of 1984, could not keep pace with Pavin's front-nine putting heroics in the gusty winds that raked the Waialae Country Club course.
Pavin scored 31 on the front nine, getting three birdie putts from more than 20 feet, then applied the clincher on the par-5 13th.
He threw his second shot in about two feet from the flag and tapped in the putt that put him three shots clear of the field.
But he had to work hard to make it stand up.
A three-putt bogey on the 17th cut his margin to two, and he faced a six-foot par putt on the 18th.
Paul Azinger, who had a chance to win a week ago in San Diego, came on with a 70 and claimed second at 274.
Watson finished bogey-bogey for a 73 that dropped him back into a tie for third at 276 with Masters champion Bernhard Langer of West Germany. Langer had a closing 68.
PGA champion Hubert Green, Dave Ogrin and Andy Dillard were another shot back at 277. Ogrin had a 67, Dillard 68 and Green 70.
Jodie Mudd was alone in eighth place at 278. Another stroke back were former Hawaiian Open winners Isao Aoki of Japan and Wayne Levi, along with Bobby Wadkins, Jay Haas, Dave Rummels, Craig Stadler and Bob Tway.
Second-round leader Mac O'Grady and George Burns, who led after the first round, were at 280 with John Mahaffey, Russ Cochran, Tony Sills, Howard Twitty and 1984 Hawaiian Open winner Jack Renner.
Jack Nicklaus, never in contention, struggled to a 74 and finished at 284.
Pavin dropped long putts for birdies on the second, fourth and sixth holes, made birdie after a nine-iron shot to eight feet on the eighth and just missed a six-foot eagle putt on the ninth.
That put him two ahead of a struggling Watson, and the five-iron second shot on the 13th all but wrapped it up.
"That was a very gratifying shot, maybe the best of the day," he said. "I played it into the wind and let the wind carry it back to the hole. It worked out just as I pictured it."
Watson two-putted for birdie on that hole moments later, then backed off. He three-putted the 14th, missed the green and bogeyed the 17th, and then took three from the fringe for a bogey on the 18th.