SAVANNAH-- More than two decades ago, on nearby Tybee Island, Michael Allen drew in the sand.
First he traced a heart. And inside the heart, two stick figures, one on bended knee in front of the other. Then Allen asked Cynthia to marry him.
Allen and his wife recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary, and Allen required almost all of those years to find peace with his golf after celebrating the personal victory that day on Tybee.
After going winless in more than 350 PGA Tour starts, Allen has now won consecutive weeks on the Champions Tour, the latest a one-shot victory Sunday with partner David Frost in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf at The Club at Savannah Harbor. Frost and Allen finished 29-under par to hold off Joey Sindelar and John Cook.
"To be honest with you, I just wasn't very good," Allen said of his earlier years. "... We've gotten through very tough times periodically, and I think just life in general, as you kind of get a little older, you can relax a little bit and put things a little more in perspective because you have a little bit of history in life. Now I realize when I'm out here, I don't have to be here. I love to be here."
Hard-charging Sindelar and Cook fired 11-under 61 Sunday to make things tight. The winning team leapfrogged Sindelar/Cook with Frost's chip-in for eagle on the par-4 14th hole.
Allen's goal is to win a PGA Tour event, but he knows time is limited. His best finish on the big tour is second, which he managed three times, most recently in 2010. He does claim victories on the European Tour and then-Nike Tour.
He won the first Champions Tour event he entered, the 2009 Senior PGA, and played well during 2011 leading to his breakthroughs this month. His victory the previous week at the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am was his first in 40 Champions Tour starts since the Senior PGA.
Allen had fun with his senior status Sunday, telling spectators waiting to cross the 11th fairway "Athlete coming through," as he zoomed past in an electric golf cart. The truth is, Allen is still fit at 53 -- no longer the California teenager who hiked more than 200 miles with a friend from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, but strong enough to rank fifth on the Champions Tour in driving distance.
And he benefited this past week from a strong partner in Frost, a 52-year-old with longtime ties to Hilton Head Island's PGA Tour event. Frost finished Heritage runner-up three times and still owns the course record at Harbour Town Golf Links, with a 61 in 1994.
"And this is as close as I'm going to win to Hilton Head," Frost said.
Frost and Allen, also teammates in 2011, have not made a bogey in the 108 holes they have played together at Legends of Golf. They've made 53 birdies during that stretch and only one eagle, Frost's chip-in on No. 14.
Despite grabbing the lead, Allen thought walking to the 18th tee he and Frost were tied with Sindelar and Cook, because of a leaderboard error.
"Good thing I didn't see that," Frost said.
But as the sky opened on the final hole and rainsuits appeared, the team needed only a par to win. Allen's long birdie putt from off the green hung on the edge, and he tapped in for victory.
Brad Bryant and Tom Purtzer, tied for the lead entering the final round, finished two shots off the pace. Cook and Sindelar made 11 birdies, including one at the last to add a little pressure.
But Allen, who told reporters earlier in the week he never acquired a winning mentality growing up, was relaxed on the 18th. He urged his birdie putt to drop and, when it didn't, still requested high-fives.
Allen said he has spoken with current PGA Tour players about loosening up and enjoying their time on tour.
"I know it's hard sometimes, because you feel like it's life and death," Allen said. "But it's not, you know?"