It’s a small world after all.
Brandt Jobe won the Principal Charity Classic Sunday at the Wakonda Club. He outdueled his good friend and college roommate, defending tournament champion Scott McCarron, down the stretch.
Jobe’s wife, Jennifer, is from Dubuque, where her parents still live.
“I just can’t get the smile off my face,” Jennifer said.
Originally, Jennifer wasn’t going to come to Des Moines. She was going to join her son, Jackson, at a baseball tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
“I talked to my brother, Jeff, on the phone and he said, “You’ve got to take advantage of being back home and being there with Brandt,” Jennifer said.
She texted Jeff back on Sunday.
“Thanks,” she told him.
Jobe and Principal Charity Classic tournament director Greg Conrad attended the same high school. Conrad was a freshman at Kent Denver School in Englewood, Colo., when Jobe was a senior. Conrad was a trainer on the baseball team. Jobe was the ace pitcher. Small world, indeed.
Jobe shot a final-round 69 and finished at 14-under-par 202. McCarron, who ran off six straight birdies to fly up the leaderboard, shot a 6-under-par 66 but missed a 41/2-birdie putt on the 18th green to finish one shot behind his former UCLA teammate.
“It was a great finish,” McCarron said. “I just missed one putt. That’s the way it goes. I played really good for a stretch of holes, made six birdies in a row and just couldn’t get any more down the stretch. Brandt Jobe, I’m really happy for him. Really proud of him.”
Jobe won using a new putter. He changed after McCarron told him his putting stunk two weeks after the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
“Yea, how about that,” Jobe said. “I changed putters and win the next week, so go figure.”
The key word there is win. Jobe’s last professional victory came 18 years ago, at the Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour. He had played 403 events on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Champions, without a victory.
The drought is over, and Jobe has a first-place check for $262,500 to prove it.
“It’s been a long time,” Jobe said. “I lost in a playoff on the PGA TOUR and had a couple of close calls, but it’s hard. You’re out here to win, and I haven’t done as good a job as I would have liked. So this is nice. It’s a little bit of a relief.”
McCarron shared the runner-up spot with Kevin Sutherland, who holed his final shot of the tournament for an eagle-2 on No. 18.
“There’s a little luck involved,” Sutherland said. “But I hit a really good shot.”
Sutherland’s final-round included another eagle at the par-5 13th. A double bogey on the par-3 9th proved costly in his closing 68.
Bernhard Langer, the Schwab Cup points leader and No. 1 money winner this season, closed with a bogey-free 67. Langer missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the final green that would have earned him a share of second.
“I was pleased with most of what I did,” said Langer, who was going for three PGA TOUR Champions victories in a row. “I just didn’t quite have it in me.”
It was still the best showing for Langer at Wakonda, where he tied for 48th in 2015 and tied for 31st in 2013. This was his 141st career Top 10 finish in 197 PGA TOUR Champions events.
Jobe started the final round tied for the lead with Glen Day, and was rock solid the entire round. He had four birdies and one bogey Sunday. But McCarron almost caught him.
Jobe had six straight birdies in a second-round 66 that got him the lead Saturday. McCarron matched that streak, and the two were tied at 13 under par after Jobe made his only bogey of the day at the par-3 14th.
Jobe looked at the leaderboard at one point while McCarron was making his run, and smiled.
“I knew that’s the way it was going to work out,” said Jobe, who regained the lead with a birdie at the par-5 15th.
When McCarron walked off 18 tee, Jobe was on 16 green. The two made eye contact and gave each other a thumbs-up.
McCarron was 41/2 feet away from tying Jobe on the 18th green, but missed it.
“I played to the right side of the cup, but it broke more than I thought it would,” McCarron said.
McCarron figured his chances of going back-to-back at Wakonda were extinguished at that point.
“I’m happy for him,” McCarron said of his roommate as Jobe walked up the 18th fairway. “I’m glad he won it.”
Jobe played a safe second shot to the front of the 18th green, then two-putted for his first PGA TOUR Champions victory. It came on the same green where McCarron had made a birdie putt for his first PGA TOUR Champions victory the year before.
“Wow, how about that,” McCarron said to his wife, Jenny, as Jobe tapped in his final putt. He then walked out to the green and hugged Jobe.
“We’re going to Hawaii,” McCarron said to Jennifer Jobe.
The PGA TOUR Champions winners open the following season at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
“When I saw Scott at (13 under) I thought, “Oh my gosh,’” Jennifer said. “But I wouldn’t have minded coming in second to Scott.”
Instead, Jennifer kissed her winning husband when it was over.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Jennifer said.
By Rick Brown, Principal Charity Classic Senior Reporter