CHAMP: Ricardo Gonzalez wins first PGA Tour Champions title in Morocco

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Ricardo Gonzalez made his first appearance at the Trophy Hassan II a memorable one by recording his first PGA Tour Champions title in Rabat, Morocco.

Gonzalez, of Argentina, benefited from a birdie binge on the back nine of his final round on Saturday to win by one stroke over Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam — Red Course. The second-round co-leader overcame two bogeys with five birdies, including four in a row on Nos. 13-16, to card a 70 and finish at 10-under 209.

“Very comfortable, very happy and very emotional. Everything is inside my body,” Gonzalez said of becoming a winner on the Champions Tour. “I worked so much to be here and this is my trophy. I like that.”

Gonzalez, 54, pocketed $320,000 for finishing in first place.

He was given a run for his money by Bjorn (69 on Saturday) as the former Ryder Cup captain bolted into contention with five birdies against one bogey on Saturday.

“Yeah, I mean, I played nicely, I did everything I had to do. I thought this morning if I could get to 10-under I would have a good chance. You know, came up one short,” Bjorn said.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed, but you have to be disappointed when you finish second. But I felt like I did all the right things. When somebody holes a putt from 14, 15, 16, 17, then you deserve to win. Fair credit to Ricardo, it’s life changing for him. So I’m happy for him, disappointed that I couldn’t get it done, but hey, we go again.”

South Korean Y.E. Yang, who shared the second-round lead with Gonzalez, shot a 73 on Saturday to end up tied for third place at 7-under with Mark Hensby (71). The Australian finished as a runner-up at last year’s tournament.

Brian Gay (71) and Ken Duke (72) tied for fifth place at 5-under, one stroke ahead of Australian Richard Green (70) and England’s Paul Broadhurst (72).

First-round leader Steve Pate followed up his 74 on Friday with a 75 on Saturday to tie Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez (72) for ninth place.

Defending champion Stephen Ames of Canada carded his third consecutive 73 to reside at even-par. He is tied for 16th place.

–Field Level Media

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