Golf Roundup : Strange Birdies the 18th Hole to Win by a Stroke

From Times Wire Services

Curtis Strange made a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday to avoid a five-way playoff and win the $724,043 St. Jude tournament with a 13-under-par 275 total at Memphis, Tenn.

The birdie capped a steady three-under-par round of 69 over the 7,282-yard, par-72 Colonial Country Club course for Strange, who earned $130,328.

Strange, who won the Canadian Open last month, went to the 18th tee tied for the lead with Russ Cochran, Mike Donald, Denis Watson and Tom Kite.

Strange, who turned in four birdies and only one bogey in the final round, pushed his tee shot into short grass near a fairway trap on the par-5, 548-yard hole.

A perfectly placed fairway iron left the 11-year PGA Tour veteran 100 yards from the green, and Strange pitched to within six feet of the pin with his third shot.

Strange, who shared a one-stroke lead with Andy Dillard going into the final round, then finished off the birdie and the tournament with a firm putt into the center of the cup.

Cochran appeared to be only two holes away from his first tour victory, standing at 13-under and holding a one-shot edge after 16 holes.

But he came back to the field on the par-4, 433-yard 17th when he hooked a fairway iron into the deep Bermuda grass rough behind the green.

After an excellent recovery shot to within four feet of the pin, Cochran slid his attempt to save par past the right side of the cup and settled for a bogey 5.

Cochran found the water along the right side of the 18th fairway, but scrambled to match par-5 and earn a share of second place.

Watson became the leader in the clubhouse when he completed a six-under round of 66 that included birdies on two of his final three holes.

Kite also birdied two of the final three finishing holes for a share of second place.

Donald went to 12-under with a birdie-3 at the 376-yard 11th hole but could only match par the rest of the day for his tournament total of 276.

Dillard was in contention for the title until he double-bogeyed the par-3 12th hole after hitting in the water. He later took a double-bogey 7 on the 16th.

Chris Johnson shot a two-under-par 70 for a 277 total and a five-stroke victory in the $250,000 Columbia Savings LPGA Pro-Am tournament at Englewood, Colo.

Johnson, of Tucson, led after each of the tournament's four rounds. Sunday, she had three birdies on the front nine of the par-72, 6,510-yard Lone Tree Country Club course.

Finishing five strokes behind Johnson at 282 was Shirley Furlong of San Antonio, who also shot a 70.

Sally Quinlan of Dennis, Mass., who was one stroke behind entering the final round, shot a 78 and fell out of contention, finishing at 286.

Johnson had birdies on the first and second holes, bogeyed the third, birdied the fourth, bogeyed the fifth and then settled down to play par golf through the turn. She earned $37,500, bringing her season total to $147,273.

Gene Littler had an inconsistent final round but still managed to win the $250,000 Commemorative by a stroke in Scarborough-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Littler had 10 birdies and 5 bogeys for a five-under-par 65 to earn $37,500 in the PGA Seniors event. Littler's last par was on the seventh hole. He followed with six birdies and five bogeys.

Littler trailed co-leaders Dale Douglass and Roland Stafford by a stroke starting the final round but took command with four birdies over the first six holes. He built the lead to three strokes, but fell into a tie with three bogeys in a four-hole stretch.

Douglass, who shot three straight 67s, finished at 201, a stroke ahead of Miller Barber, who had a 67 Sunday. It was the fifth runner-up finish of the year without a victory for Douglass, a four-time Seniors champion as a rookie in 1986.

Alison Nicholas of Britain, a six-time runner-up in her four years on the European tour, won the $165,000 British Women's Open by one stroke at St. Mellion, England.

Nicholas shot a birdie 4 at the 18th hole for a par 73 and a 296 total. Laura Davies of Britain, the U.S. Open champion, and American Muffin Spencer-Devlin tied for second at 297.

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