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Stankowski Goes the Extra Foot for Victory

From Associated Press

His one-foot birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole won the Hawaiian Open for Paul Stankowski on Sunday, but it was a downhill eight-footer that he said was the key shot at Honolulu.

“That was the big one because it got me in the playoff,” he said after turning back defending champion Jim Furyk and Mike Reid on the extra holes.

Maybe so, but Stankowski also had to make a 30-footer on the third playoff hole to keep pace with Furyk--after Reid had been eliminated--and take advantage of the Waialae Country Club’s reachable par fives.

In missing the cut the last three years, Stankowski played the course’s four par-fives in only three under par. This time around, he played them in 15-under in regulation and added two more birdies in the playoffs, with the last winning the tournament.

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“I saw the wind was blowing today, so my focus was to stay patient,” he said. “I was scrapping on the front nine.

“I told myself to stick to your game plan and good things should happen. That’s what I did.”

Donnie Hammond shot a closing 69 and Jay Don Blake had a 70 to share fourth place at 15-under 273, and the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year Tom Lehman couldn’t recover from a slow start and finished with a 71 and a 274 total.

On the winning hole, Stankowski drove his second shot on the par-five, 18th hole to just off the green and then two-putted to win the $216,000 first prize.

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Furyk, who needed three extra holes last year to beat Brad Faxon, had to make a 10-footer to send the match to a fifth extra hole, but his putt slid just right of the cup.

“I got off to a great start,” said Furyk, who started the day in third place three strokes behind Reid. “I was five-under through 13 and it could have been better.”

Disaster struck on the 396-yard 15th where he four-putted from 50 feet.

“The second putt there was my only bad stroke,” he said.

“Overall, it’s very disappointing. I don’t think anyone played better than me.”

“Jim’s the best putter on the tour and I wouldn’t have expected it [the four-putt],” Stankowski said of Furyk’s disaster when he held a two-stroke lead and appeared on the verge of winning the Open for the second year in a row.

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Even with a seemingly safe three-shot lead going into the last hole, David Graham wouldn’t allow himself to relax.

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“Celebrating early is not appropriate--at least to me,” he said after shooting a 65 to win the Senior Tour’s $900,000 GTE Classic at Lutz, Fla.

“I’ve seen it all,” the Australian-born golfer added, alluding to some of the collapses he’s witnessed. “I will not allow myself to feel a tournament is over before the last ball is in the hole.”

Graham finished with a 54-hole total of nine-under-par 204 on the par 71, 6,638-yard course at the TPC of Tampa Bay and earned $135,000--nearly twice as much as he ever took home for a week’s work in 20 years on the PGA Tour.

Bob Dickson (67) was second at 207, followed by Ray Floyd (70), Hubert Green (66) and Bruce Summerhays (67) at 208. Gil Morgan (72) and second-round leader Bob Eastwood (73) faltered on the back nine to join Isao Aoki (70) at 209, five shots behind Graham.

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No, Tiger Woods doesn’t win every week.

Woods had to settle for eighth place in the Australian Masters at Melbourne, Australia, confounded again by his putting game on difficult greens.

The winner was Australia’s Peter Lonard who has spent four years recovering from a rare tropical disease that had left him so weary he could not walk two holes on a golf course.

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Lonard defeated countryman Peter O’Malley on the second extra hole to win $102,600 after they had tied at 276 in regulation.

Woods closed with an even-par 73 and was seven strokes off the pace with his nine-under 283, which tied with Larry Mize and Australian veteran Rodger Davis.

Woods, who won by 10 strokes last week in Thailand, was seeking his fifth victory in 14 professional starts and trying to win on a third continent this year.

But he appeared unable to read the greens at the Huntingdale course, a problem that persisted all week.

“My stroke felt pretty good,” he said. “But when you’re unsure of the line, your speed’s going to be off.”

*

Nick Price of Zimbabwe fired a final round, three-under-par 69 to win the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Sun City, South Africa, by eight shots for his first victory in 14 months.

Price, formerly the No. 1 player in the world, finished at 20-under 268.

David Frost of South Africa was second at 276 after a final-round 71.


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