The Tradition says aloha
- Bill Wilson
- Beaverton Valley Times - Sports
Eduardo Romero walks away a winner in the final season of the JELD-WEN Tradition at The Reserve
ALOHA - Nicknamed 'El Gato' (the cat), Eduardo Romero pounced on the opportunity to win his first career tournament after charging up the leaderboard with a final round 7-under 65 Sunday at the JELD-WEN Tradition
Romero made up five shots on the final day to earn a playoff with Lonnie Nielsen, then won the final major of the season on the Champions Tour when he knocked in a 2-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole. Romero almost eagled the sudden-death playoff hole, leaving his 19-foot putt just short on No. 18.
Nielsen bogeyed the hole as Romero completed the largest come-from-behind win in the history of the event, which was held on the par-72, 7,150-yard course at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha. Romero's win marked the fifth consecutive year that the third-round leader didn't win.
With the victory, the Argentinean became the Champions Tour's 13th different winner in 2006, doing so in his eighth career start on the circuit. He joined Jack Nicklaus (1990), Tom Kite (2000) and Loren Roberts (2005) as players who have claimed their first career Champions title at the Tradition.
Romero became the second international player to win the JELD-WEN and second player from Argentina to win a Champions Tour major tournament. He received $375,000 for the victory and earned a full-exemption on the Champions Tour for one calendar from Sunday.
Romero became the first player in the history of the event to open with a round of even par and go on to win. Romero, the first Tradition winner to never win on the PGA Tour, shot a 72 on the first day, followed by a 70 and 68 before closing with the 65, which was the low round of the tournament.
Romero has now finished among the top-2 in each of the Champions Tour's last two majors of the 2006 season. He lost to Loren Roberts in a playoff at the Senior Bristish Open last month.