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Gonzalez has late birdie surge to win PGA Tour Champions event in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina ran off four straight birdies on the back nine Saturday and closed with a 3-under 70 for a one-shot victory in the Trophy Hassan II, giving him membership on the PGA Tour Champions for the first time.

Gonzalez got into the field — the only PGA Tour Champions event outside North America except for the Senior British Open — by finishing among the top four on the European Legends Tour last season. He made it pay off in a big way.

His birdie streak began at the 13th hole, and two closing pars gave him a one-shot victory over Thomas Bjorn, who needed birdie on the par-5 closing hole at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to force a playoff. Bjorn shot 69.

Y.E. Yang, who shared the 36-hole lead with Gonzalez, had a 73 and tied for third with Mark Hensby, who closed with a 71.

Calgary's Stephen Ames was even after a 73 to tie for 16th.

Gonzalez was a four-time winner on the European tour. He finished at 10-under 209 and won $320,000 from the $2 million purse. Just as valuable was an exemption on tour.

“I’m feeling so good, so good, so big and now playing the tour everybody like to play, no?” he said. “Everybody like to play in the Champions Tour and one of the lucky men to get in there.”

Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, in his first PGA Tour Champions event since he was released from two years in prison for gender violence, shot 70 and tied for 27th. Cabrera is set to play in the Argentina Open next week on the Korn Ferry Tour.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

The Associated Press