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Wiebe Collapses, Leonard Wins

From Associated Press

In the gentlemen’s game of golf, no one wants to win just because the other guy fell apart. So forgive Justin Leonard for not celebrating wildly after his gift victory at the Kemper Open in Potomac, Md.

Leonard notched his second PGA Tour victory by one stroke Sunday after Mark Wiebe, who hasn’t won in 11 years, blew a four-stroke lead and missed two-foot par putts on the last two holes.

“I’m happy with the outcome,” said Leonard, whose $270,000 paycheck is his biggest on the tour. “If it would have happened differently, I might have been a little happier. . . . I really would have rather seen him make that putt [on No. 18] and us go into a playoff.”

Wiebe missed four putts from three feet or closer over the final 11 holes, a startling collapse by one of the few people who had mastered the TPC at Avenel’s bumpy, uneven greens with bogey-free rounds Friday and Saturday. He badly misread the break on a 20-foot birdie putt that would have won the tournament at No. 18, then pulled his par putt to the left.

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“I’m speechless,” Wiebe said. “I’m very disappointed. I felt like it was my tournament to win or lose, and I lost. . . . When you hit putts like that, it’s probably not to be, I guess.”

Leonard had a 67 for a 274 total, but his charge for the lead appeared to fall apart when his tee shot landed next to a cart path on 16. He bogeyed that hole to fall to 10-under, then parred the last two and waited and watched as Wiebe fell apart. The third-round leader by three strokes, Wiebe finished with a two-over-par 73 for a nine-under 275 total.

Both golfers survived a late run by Nick Faldo, who moved within two strokes of the lead before bogeying the last two holes for a 71 and 277 total. Greg Norman and Nick Price also looked in good shape with 67s in their final rounds before the U.S. Open, which starts Thursday at nearby Congressional Country Club. Faldo, Norman and Price tied for third with Mike Springer, who had a 72.

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Gil Morgan won his second consecutive tournament, shooting a five-under-par 67 for a two-stroke victory at the $1.3 million BellSouth Senior Classic in Nashville. He started the final round with a one-stroke lead and birdied two of his first three holes to keep the field at least two strokes away down the stretch.

Morgan had four birdies without a bogey and finished 54 holes at 14-under 202, holding off John Bland, who closed with a 68, for his third victory this year and fourth since joining the tour last fall.

Larry Gilbert also had a 68 and was at 206, one stroke better than Hale Irwin and Tom Wargo, who both had a final-round 68.

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Pat Hurst made a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole in East Lansing, Mich., to win the LPGA Oldsmobile Classic, beating Juli Inkster by one stroke.

In her third season on the LPGA tour, Hurst, 28, shot a two-under-par 70 for a nine-under 279 total and her first victory. She collected the $90,000 winner’s share and Inkster, a 14-year tour veteran who has not won since 1992, earned $55,855.

Finishing two strokes behind Hurst was Susie Redman.


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