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Golf Roundup : Strange Gets Norman Where He Wants Him

May 02, 1988| From Times Wire Services

Don't get into a playoff with Curtis Strange at The Woodlands, Tex. You'll lose.

Strange made a 25-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole Sunday to beat Greg Norman and win the $700,000 Independent Insurance Agent Open for the third time--all in playoffs.

"The last thing I thought about was, 'I did it before and I can do it again,' " Strange said of his winning putt. "I got a good read off of Greg's putt."

Norman missed a longer putt on basically the same line before Strange earned his first PGA Tour victory of the year and the first prize of $126,000.

Strange, who won this tournament outside of Houston in 1980 by beating Lee Trevino and in 1986 by beating Calvin Peete, both in playoffs, sank a four-foot putt on the final hole of regulation to tie Norman at 18-under-par 270 and force the playoff.

"You saw an exhibition of what we can do under pressure," Norman said. "It's too bad there had to be a loser. But I just really enjoyed it. I don't feel like a loser. Curtis did all the right things and that's what happens when you win."

Strange and Norman each shot 5-under-par 67 after starting the day sharing a one-shot lead. After 12 holes they were in a three-way tie for the lead with Tom Kite, who was in the same threesome, at 15-under par.

Kite had a bogey on the 14th hole and fell out of contention. He shot 68 and finished at 272.

Norman took the lead with a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to take a one-shot lead before Strange birdied the final regulation hole.

"Win, lose or draw, I would have enjoyed myself today," Strange said. "But this certainly does a lot for my confidence. We had a great round of golf today. We had a great head-to-head match and that's not something you see often.

"As far as I'm concerned, I beat the best player in the world today."

Norman missed a chance to end the tournament on the first playoff hole, the par-3 16th, when he missed a birdie putt after Strange had two-putted.

Strange's 3-foot par putt on the second extra hole circled the cup before dropping in.

Patti Rizzo sank a 7-foot birdie putt on the fifth playoff hole to beat Sherri Turner and win the $335,000 Sara Lee LPGA tournament at Nashville, Tenn.

"I knew I was going to make it," Rizzo said. "I'm glad it wound up that way. You don't like to win when somebody else messes up."

The playoff began after a four-way tie, but Kim Williams and Tammie Green bogeyed the first playoff hole to drop out.

The four finished 54 holes of regulation play at 207, 9 under par.

Rizzo birdied the final hole of regulation to finish a round of 67 and Turner, who also had a 67, got into the playoff after making a hole-in-one at the 17th hole. Green had the low round of the day, a 66, while Williams shot 67.

The victory was the first on the LPGA Tour for Rizzo since the 1985 Corning tournament.

Rizzo and Turner made routine pars through the first four playoff holes. Turner had her best shot at birdie on the first hole of the playoff, a 10-footer, but missed.

"I wish I could hit that putt again," Turner said.

Deb Richard, who held at least a share of the lead most of the day, missed a 3-foot putt for par on the last regulation hole and finished one shot back. Also at 8-under were Rosie Jones, who finished with a 71, and Nancy Brown, who had a round of 67 that included an eagle at the par-5 11th.

Amy Alcott and Kathy Postlewait, both with 70s, finished two shots back.

Orville Moody made a 12-foot birdie putt on the sixth playoff hole as he and Bruce Crampton successfully defended their title in the Legends of Golf at Austin, Tex.

Moody, using a 50-inch putter, put his team into the playoff with Tommy Aaron and Lou Graham with a 4-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole.

That completed a better-ball final-round 62 and tied Aaron and Graham at 254, 26 shots under par.

Aaron and Graham also recorded an 8-under-par 62 over the last 18 holes of regulation, including Aaron's eagle 2 on the 16th hole.

Scott Simpson, trailing by three strokes at the start of the final round, shot a bogey-free, 3-under-par 67 to win the $720,000 Chunichi Crowns tournament at Tokyo.

Simpson, the 1987 U.S. Open champion finished with a 2-under total of 278, three strokes ahead of defending champion Masashi Ozaki, who shot 72, and American David Ishii, who had a 69.

Simpson, who won the 1984 Crowns title, earned $130,000.

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