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Golf Roundup : Zoeller Wins With a Tie-Breaker

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Australian Greg Norman was standing beside the 18th green Sunday, his day’s work finished, when Fuzzy Zoeller lined up a potential winning putt.

“Fuzzy had the look in his eye, and I felt sure he’d make it,” Norman said.

And Zoeller did.

He took a little skipping step as the 15-foot putt neared the hole, then--bad back and all--went leaping into the air when it found the cup.

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It finished off a comeback round of par 71 and made him a one-stroke winner in the $450,000 Sea Pines Heritage tournament at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The winning putt, which went in on top of a slightly longer effort by Chip Beck, lifted Fuzzy out of a four-way tie for the lead and enabled him to join Calvin Peete as the only two-time winners on the PGA Tour this year.

Zoeller, two strokes in front when the day’s play started but three behind at the turn, said he had some help on the putt that finished off a dramatic, five-man, down-to-the-wire struggle.

“I got a very, very good read on Beck’s putt,” Zoeller said. “I was pretty sure I knew what it was going to do, but Beck’s putt convinced me. I put it outside the right edge and it went in the middle of the cup. Beck’s putt definitely helped.”

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Fuzzy’s putt completed a 72-hole total of eight-under-par 276 on the Harbour Town Golf Links and suddenly made a playoff with Norman, Beck and Roger Maltbie unnecessary.

Zoeller’s ninth career victory--and his second in this event--was worth $81,000 from the total purse of $450,000 and pushed Zoeller’s earnings for the season to $221,335, third on the list.

Norman, also a runner-up in the Masters a week ago, Maltbie and Beck tied for second at 277. Maltbie had a closing round of 69. Norman had a 70. And Beck birdied the 18th for a 70.

Jay Haas, in the chase until the final hole, matched par 71 and was another stroke back at 278.

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He was followed by Ray Floyd, Tom Kite and Ken Green at 279. Green birdied the last three holes for a 67. Kite had the same. And Floyd shot 66 in the mild, breezy overcast weather.

Bernhard Langer of West Germany, the defending champion, went to a 75--10 shots higher than his Saturday score--and finished well back at 285.

Zoeller, a two-shot leader going into the round, lost that when he drove deep into the woods on the first hole, required four strokes to reach the putting surface and eventually made double bogey.

He also made bogey on the third hole and reached the turn in 39. At that point, he was three shots behind Maltbie.

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“I almost let it get out of reach but this is the type of golf course that nobody is going to run away with it,” Zoeller said.

He made a long putt, perhaps 30 feet, for birdie on the 11th. Maltbie bogeyed the 14th, missing the green, and Zoeller was back in it when he threw a soft little shot inside of a foot for a tap-in birdie moments later on the same hole.

Zoeller saved par with a six-foot putt on the 15th, and, going to the 16th tee, Zoeller, Norman and Maltbie were tied for the lead at seven under par, with Beck and Haas a shot back.

All five parred the next two holes and took the drama to the last hole.

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At Cannes, France, John Bland of South Africa gave himself an early birthday present by turning a two-stroke deficit into a four-shot victory over Seve Ballesteros in the $150,000 Cannes Open.

Bland, who turns 41 today, had six birdies in a 67 over the Mougins course for a 12-under-par 276. Ballesteros, meanwhile, shot 73 for 280.

“I thought it was impossible to give the world’s top golfer a two-shot start and win,” Bland said. “I won by four and I still cannot believe it.”

At Houston, Bruce Crampton birdied the 18th hole to win the Doug Sanders Celebrity Golf tournament for his first victory on the Seniors Tour.

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Crampton shot a 69 for a 14-under-par total of 202 at the Memorial Park Golf Course to win a purse of $25,000.


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