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GOLF ROUNDUP : Dramatic Rally Gives Lowery First Victory

August 22, 1994|From Associated Press

Steve Lowery, earning his first victory in seven seasons on the PGA Tour, used two dramatic eagles on the back nine to vault into a tie and then beat Rick Fehr in a playoff Sunday to win the International at Castle Rock, Colo.

Lowery, as many as 10 points off the pace after two bogeys in his first five holes, eagled both of the par-fives on the back nine--worth five points apiece under the modified Stableford scoring system used in this unusual tournament.

Lowery and Fehr both overtook Ernie Els late in the round and tied for first with 35 points.

Lowery was four points behind third-round leader Keith Clearwater to start the final round and showed no early indications of being a factor. Through 13 holes, Lowery had 25 points--one fewer than when he started--and was still seven points behind Els.

But he dramatically boosted his standing with the five-point eagle at the par-five 14th hole, getting to plus-30. Then he eagled the par-five 17th, hitting his approach to within two feet of the hole.

Lowery, 33, prevailed on the first hole of a playoff when Fehr drove into a pond on the right side of the fairway.

After taking a drop, Fehr hit his next shot into a greenside bunker and blasted out his fourth shot several feet from the cup. Lowery, meanwhile, made a routine par to win the $252,000 top prize.

"When Rick hit his tee shot into the water, I honestly thought I still would have to make three to win," Lowery said. "I thought he would hole the bunker shot. When he didn't, I just said, 'Please let me two-putt.'

"It was just my time to win. When it's your time, nothing can get in the way. I've had people all over the country who've been pulling for me for so many years. It's such an accomplishment to finally overcome the mental barrier and win."

*

Dave Stockton made golf history at Coon Rapids, Minn. He almost made it twice.

First, Stockton stood on the 18th green at Bunker Hills Golf Course and watched Jim Albus miss an eagle putt. That gave Stockton a one-stroke victory in the Burnet Senior Classic and made him the only senior player ever to post consecutive million-dollar seasons.

Stockton then stood in the media tent and watched on television as his son, Dave Jr., pulled into contention late in the International. But Stockton Jr. hit into the woods on the 17th, and the Stocktons lost a chance to become the first father-son combination to win PGA events on the same day.

"Your first win on the regular tour is very important," said Stockton, whose third victory of the year and ninth as a senior gave him 20 tour victories in a 30-year professional career. "It would be worth way more to Junior, obviously, than this one is to me."

Not that this one wasn't worth a lot--both financially and historically--to Dave Sr. He earned $157,500.

Winning more than $1 million in consecutive years "was in the back of my mind starting this year," said Stockton, whose 13-under 203 included rounds of 68 and 66 before Sunday's 69. "Winning is the name of the game. I'm going to make Trevino play a little bit more because I'm going to play most of the tournaments."

Lee Trevino has won $1,176,866 this year compared to $1,059,045 for Stockton. Trevino is the only senior with three million-dollar seasons (1990, 1992, 1994).

*

Jane Geddes birdied five of the last seven holes on the way to a five-under 67 and a three-stroke victory over Dale Eggeling and Robin Walton in the LPGA Chicago Challenge at Naperville, Ill.

Geddes won the 11th title of her career by completing 72 holes at 272, 16 under on the 6,256-yard White Eagle Golf Club course.

Geddes, tied at 12 under with Eggeling, began her winning run with a birdie on the 12th hole. After parring 13, she birdied 14 and 15 to push the margin to three strokes. A bogey at 16 cost her a stroke, but she closed with birdies on 17 and 18 to draw clear.

"This is probably one of my more important wins I would say in the last two or three years," said Geddes, who hadn't won in more than a year. "Because I've worked at it, and because as I said, I had rededicated myself and really wanted to win.

"It was crucial. I just wanted to finish. I didn't want to make the money. I wanted to win and work under pressure. I just wanted to come from behind. I wanted to make birdies. I wanted to do all the things I did when I was playing well.

"That was my goal for the next month or so. It's like a relief. It worked when I wanted it to work."

*

Colin Montgomerie made a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole for his first victory on British soil, winning the English Open by one stroke at Coventry, England.

Montgomerie, of Scotland, shot a final-round 69 for a 14-under total of 274 to beat Englishman Barry Lane, who led by two strokes with two holes to play.

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