DES MOINES, Iowa -- Injuries kept
Finally healthy, Cochran broke through with a win that thrust him back into title contention on the Champions Tour.
Cochran won the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday for his fourth career senior circuit title, closing with a 5-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over
Cochran, who battled through rib and wrist injuries last season, finished at 11-under 205 at the Wakonda Club in Des Moines.
The left-hander, who entered the day two strokes behind second-round leader Duffy Waldorf, broke a winless streak that stretched 35 tournaments.
"I didn't really expect to win. But I knew I could compete and get in contention. Of course, when you do that, sometimes good things happen," Cochran said.
Blake shot 69. He bogeyed the par-3 17th with his first three-putt of the tournament to fall a stroke behind. He had a chance to force a playoff, but his birdie try on the par-4 18th missed to the right.
"I quit on the stroke. I didn't make a good stroke. I kind of de-accelerated and left it out there to the right," Blake said.
Waldorf had a 71, his only round above 70 all weekend, to tie for third at 9 under with
Throughout the final round, it felt as though someone was going to hit a great shot to seize control of the tournament.
Instead, it was a poor tee shot by Blake that opened the door for Cochran.
Blake left his first effort on the 174-yard 17th hole about 50 feet short, and it took three putts to find the hole. Cochran, playing a hole ahead, made par on 18 to put the onus on Blake.
Though Blake couldn't come through on the last hole, he still managed his second second-place finish of the year and the fifth of his career.
"From then on, it just seemed like I was a little bit cautious with the putter. I wasn't stroking as aggressive as I was before," Blake said after his tee shot on No. 17.
Cochran would have been just a shot off the lead entering Sunday if he hadn't missed a 3-foot putt on No. 18 in the second round.
He didn't let that miscue affect him early on, leaning on a tweak he made to his putting mechanics late on Saturday for a strong finish on the greens.
Cochran birdied three of the first five holes -- including on a par-3, 4 and 5 -- to grab the lead from Waldorf. Waldorf caught Cochran at 9-under at the end of the front nine, where they were joined in the lead by a surging Blake.
Blake bogeyed two of the first three holes before ripping off birdies on six of nine holes.
But Blake missed a 2-footer for the lead at No. 13, and he and Cochran stayed even until Cochran birdied No. 15 for a one-shot lead.
Cochran then missed a 4-footer for par at No. 16, and both stood at 11-under heading into the final two holes.
In the end, Blake's putting abandoned him at the worst possible time.
Blake is "a tremendous putter. I didn't want to ... see him roll it in with all the confidence, and I just felt like he would make it. Being such a good friend, I wanted him to make it," Cochran said.
Jay Haas, who has won in Iowa three times, made a late run at the leaders with a 4-under 68 on Sunday. He finished with seven others at 7-under.