GOLF ROUNDUP : Couples Overcomes Nerves and Gamez to Win Playoff

From Associated Press

It will go into the record books as a victory in the Honda Classic for Fred Couples, his first since last year's Masters. But it was more an exercise in survival.

He overcame the loss of a four-stroke lead on the back nine, a four-iron shot into the water on the 16th hole and, in the end, a two-hole sudden death playoff Sunday at Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., against Robert Gamez.

"I was choking like a dog coming in," Couples said.

Only a 30-foot sand shot for a birdie on the 17th hole got him into a playoff, and a mistake by Gamez, who went into the water with his third shot on the second hole of the playoff, let him win it.

When Couples made double-bogey from the water on the 16th hole, he had time to correct it. But when Gamez dumped a shot into a lake on the second playoff hole, no time was left and Couples became a winner for the 10th time in his career with a routine, two-putt par.

Meg Mallon drove the ball well and shot a three-under-par 69 in the final round to edge Betsy King by one stroke for the Ping-Welch Championship at Tucson.

It was the fifth victory for Mallon, a seven-year pro, and her first since 1991, when she won four titles, including the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open.

King began the day with a one-shot lead over Mallon, who finished with a 72-hole 272.

J.C. Snead shot a two-under-par 70 to finish with a 54-hole 214 and win the Vantage at Dominion by one stroke over Gary Player and Bobby Nichols at San Antonio.

Playing in the wind and cold, the three leaders were the only players to break par in the tournament.

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