Golf Roundup : Azinger Chips His Way to Victory
Paul Azinger made a 40-foot chip shot from the rough for a tie-breaking birdie on the final hole and beat Wayne Levi by one stroke with a course record 267 at the Greater Hartford Open Sunday.
Azinger, who lost a four-stroke lead on the back nine, repeated his tournament triumph of 1987, when he beat Levi and Dan Forsman by a stroke.
“It was a Jekyll and Hyde round. I probably have never hit the ball in my life as well as I hit it on the first nine holes,” said Azinger, who shot six-under-par 65 in the final round. “I became very unsure of myself (after that).”
Levi, the co-leader after the third round, had a 67 Sunday and 268.
Azinger, 29, seemed to have a safe lead when he shot six-under-par 30 on the front nine and went 17 under.
At that point, Levi was in second place, four strokes behind after eight holes.
Levi began his charge on the 585-yard ninth hole, in which he birdied. Then, he birdied the 10th and 12th to cut Azinger’s lead to one stroke.
Azinger, at the 14th hole, was making his fifth consecutive par, but Levi made an eight-foot birdie putt on the 13th to tie for the lead.
Moments after Azinger bogeyed the 446-yard 15th hole, Levi bogeyed the 424-yard 14th, leaving both at 16 under. They stayed there until Azinger played the 18th.
The record since the event moved to the TPC of Connecticut in 1984 had been 269, the score of four of the previous five winners.
On his last 41 holes, Azinger had 11 birdies, 29 pars and one bogey.
He moved from 11th place to fourth on the tour’s earning list. The $180,000 first-place prize in the $1 million purse gave him $597,499 for the year. He has finished in the top 10 in nine of his 18 tournaments.
Dave Rummells shot 66 to finish third at 14-under-par 270. Jim Carter, with a 66, Lee Trevino, with a 67, and Mark Calcavecchia, with a 69, tied for fourth at 271.
Penny Hammel, holding off challenges by Nancy Lopez and Betsy King in the final nine holes, won by two strokes for her second Jamie Farr Toledo tournament championship.
Hammel, whose only two victories in her five years on the LPGA tour have come in the Farr, closed with an even-par 71 to finish at seven-under-par 206 at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Lopez, with a final-round 68 after back-to-back 70s, shared second place with reigning U.S. Open champion Liselotte Neumann and three-time Open champion Hollis Stacy at five-under 208.
Lopez’s tie for second marked the fourth time she has finished second in the Farr.
Neumann, defending her Open championship next week at the Indianwood Golf and Country Club at Lake Orion, Mich., finished with a 71 after starting the day alone in second place, two strokes back of Hammel.
Stacy closed with her second consecutive 68 after a first-round 72.
Bob Charles of New Zealand rallied from two strokes back with a seven-under-par 65 to win the $300,000 Seniors Classic in Concord, Mass., his third victory on the tour this year.
Charles’ 54-hole total of 16-under-par 200 was three shots better than Mike Hill, who closed with a 69 and a total of 203.
Dale Douglass and Bruce Crampton each had final-round 71s and were tied at 204, 12 under.