Golfer Winged It With Birdies in ’88, Now He’s Flying High
Mike Donald, who birdied eight of the last 10 holes in his final tournament of 1988 to retain his PGA Tour playing privileges, will need no such heroics this year.
“I hope this is just the beginning,” Donald said today after he defeated Tim Simpson with a birdie on the fourth hole of a playoff to win the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic.
The playoff was suspended by rain and darkness Sunday; it took only one hole today to determine the winner.
The victory, the first of Donald’s 10-year pro career, was worth $153,000 from the $850,000 purse. More important for Donald, it gave him a two-year exemption on the tour.
“Last year, I was in danger of losing my card,” said Donald, who was 135th on the 1988 money list going into the final tournament.
Because he did not have a winner’s exemption for 1989, he needed to finish in the top 125 on the money list to retain his playing card for this year.
“They were getting ready to tell me to find another way to make a living,” said Donald, whose final-round birdie flurry left him 96th on last year’s money list with $118,509, nearly $35,000 less than he earned today.
The playoff began late Sunday afternoon when Donald, Simpson and Hal Sutton finished four tours of Kingsmill Golf Club’s 6,776-yard layout in 268, 16-under par.
Heavy showers interrupted the playoff after the three had parred the first hole, and when play resumed nearly an hour later, they parred the second hole and moved to the 438-yard 18th, where Donald and Simpson had pars and Sutton was ousted with a double-bogey 6.
At that point, it was nearly 8:30 p.m. EDT, and officials determined it was too dark to continue play.