PALM HARBOR — Allison Finney's roller-coaster round put her within striking distance of her first Legends Tour title Sunday afternoon at Innisbrook.
Finney, 51, who entered the final round of the Open Championship four shots back, stormed back with the best score of the day, 3-under 69. The Evanston, Ill., native moved to 5 under for the day, and one shot behind leader Sherri Steinhauer, until the final two holes, when her red-hot putter cooled.
Finney two-putted the 17th and 18th holes for a pair of bogeys to finish the tournament at par 144, her second runnerup finish in 18 tour events.
"It's been a long time since I've played nearly that well," Finney said. "It was so much fun to just be out there competing."
Finney bounced back from a rough start (a three-putt and bogey on the first hole) to make several great shots, including a 20-foot birdie putt on the ninth hole (her third of three straight birdies) and a 14-foot chip in for par on another.
"I think that 5 under was when my comfort zone (ended)," Finney said, smiling. "I just tried to stay with (the leaders), and overall, it worked out well."
LOCAL BOYS: The tournament's top two finishers, Steinhauer and Finney, were helped by local caddies, who filled in when others fell through.
Bill Glynn, a 63-year-old Clearwater resident who owns a saw company, volunteered before the tournament, and Finney called him Monday. Glynn, who hadn't caddied in 20 years, joked he had to take Advil each morning but the match worked out well.
"The foursome told me I was the best rookie caddie they'd ever seen," he quipped.
Tom DeCaprio, 39, of Westchase carried the bag of Steinhauer, who thanked him in her victory speech. DeCaprio, a former Innisbrook member, said he played there for years and "knew every inch of the golf course."
IMPRESSIONS: The tournament, in its first year at Innisbrook, received rave reviews from players, tour officials and Innisbrook managing director Lloyd Williams.
Tour CEO Jane Blalock said about 4,000 people attended Saturday and about 2,500 Sunday. Because tickets weren't sold — admission was an optional donation — the figures were estimates.
"I always have really high expectations, and it exceeded my expectations," Blalock said. "I've never had an event where the players have been so pleased and so complimentary of everything."