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Golf Roundup : Couples Wins Nelson on Third Playoff Hole

May 11, 1987| From Times Wire Services

Fred Couples, who hadn't won in three years, parred the third hole of a playoff to beat former caddy Mark Calcavecchia and win the $600,000 Byron Nelson golf tournament at Irving, Tex.

Couples earned his third PGA Tour victory and the $108,000 winner's prize with a five-foot putt after reaching the green in two. It was a $43,200 putt for Couples, the difference between first and second-place money.

Calcavecchia bogeyed the 415-yard, par-4 hole when he found a grass bunker on his second shot. His third shot was long, and a 20-foot par putt came up inches short.

Couples birdied the first hole of sudden-death, No. 16, with a six-footer. But Calcavecchia exploded from a trap and holed a three-footer for his birdie.

Both players scrambled for pars on the second extra hole. Couples got it up and down from a sand bunker. His five-foot putt rolled around the hole before it went in. Calcavecchia got it up and down from a grass bunker, tapping in a two-footer for par.

Calcavecchia had made four straight birdies on the back nine to make up six shots and tie Couples with a final-round, six-under-par 64.

Couples made a three-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, then two-putted the last two holes for a 70.

Calcavecchia and Couples each tied the tournament record of 14-under-par 266.

Calcavecchia, the former caddy for Ken Green, had to pass nine players to catch Couples before a crowd that tournament officials estimated to be in excess of 50,000. Calcavecchia was at the cut of 139 after the first two rounds.

Calcavecchia birdied the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th holes to shoot a four-under-par 31 on the lush incoming nine of the Tournament Players Course at Las Colinas.

His 127 total for the final two days was only two shots off the PGA Tour record of 125 set by Ron Streck in the 1978 Texas Open.

Bob Lohr, a non-winner on the tour, shot a 69 to finish one stroke behind the leaders. He missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th green that would have put him into the playoff.

Greg Norman was only two shots back when the day began but had a 70 to finish at 269.

Couples has won $257,495 this year and $1,245,684 in his career. Couples hadn't won since the 1984 Tournament Players Championship. His other victory was the 1983 Kemper Open.

Jody Rosenthal, the top LPGA Tour rookie last year, broke from the pack with four straight birdies en route to a six-under-par 66 and a one-shot victory over Cindy Hill in the United Virginia Bank tournament at Suffolk, Va.

Rosenthal, who began the day six strokes off the pace, finished the tournament with a seven-under-par total of 209 after earlier rounds of 71 and 72.

The win, worth $37,500 from the $250,000 purse, was the first for Rosenthal, who had six top 10 finishes last year and missed only two cuts in 23 events.

Hill, who took a one-shot lead over Nancy Lopez and Sherri Turner into the final round, shot a 73.

Lopez and Turner tied for third place at 211. Both also closed with 73s.

Chi Chi Rodriguez shot a three-under-par 69 to win the $250,000 Vantage Dominion Seniors tournament at San Antonio, Tex.

Rodriguez, 51, finished the 54-hole tournament at 13-under-par 203 and earned $37,500.

Butch Baird, who had ended the second round in a three-way tie for fourth place, shot a 67 to place second at 206 and earn $22,000.

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