Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Jason Gore keeps lead down stretch to win 84 Lumber


The collapse never came, even as a once-sizable lead dwindled to a single precarious stroke. This time, Sunday didn't crush Jason Gore. It belonged to him.

Gore, whose last-day unraveling already is part of US Open lore, stood up to the 84 Lumber Classic field Sunday with big drives and steely nerves to win on the PGA Tour barely a month after being stuck in golf's minor leagues.

Gore's four-stroke lead with five holes to play was down to one over runner-up Carlos Franco by No. 18, but Gore landed his approach shot on the 468-yard par-4 on the lower fringe of the green. With a playoff looming if he didn't get up and down, Gore deftly lagged his putt from 91 1/2 feet to within 22 inches, and tapped in for a final-round 2-under 70, a US$792,000 paycheck and the Tour victory he once thought might never come.

His 14-under 274 denied Franco (69) his first PGA victory since 2001 and was three shots better than third-place finisher Ben Crane (67).

Gore never finished higher than 18th during two previous stays on the PGA Tour, in 2001 and 2003. Now, he joins Paul Stankowski (1996) as the only golfers to win on the developmental Nationwide and PGA tours in the same year.

The portly, big-swinging Gore is the first to do so after earning the automatic in-season promotion that goes to any three-time Nationwide winner.

Now, all those public course duffers who think they could make the leap to golf's big leagues have a new hero to go with John Daly.

Gore, 31, looks as much like a spectator as he does a pro, and his caddy wears not a Nike or a Titleist cap, bur one plugging Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Annika Sorenstam hopes her second straight victory at the John Q. Hammons Classic is a springboard to another strong finish to the US LPGA season.

Sorenstam closed with a 2-over 73 and withstood a late charge from American rookie Paula Creamer to win the Hammons Classic for the third time in four years on Sunday.

Sorenstam made 15 straight pars to start the final round and overcame bogeys on two of the last three holes to finish one shot ahead of Creamer at 5-under 208 for her seventh tour win in 14 starts this season and 63rd overall. She also won a European Tour event in her native Sweden this year.

After winning the Hammons Classic last year, Sorenstam went on to win three of her next five events and picked up her seventh player of the year award.

"For me, it's important to play good at the end of the year," Sorenstam said.

"There's a lot of things that are at stake. We're talking money list, we're talking player of the year, Vare Trophy.

"Those are goals of mine and they mean a lot. A victory here sets me up a little closer to my goals."

US Open champion Michael Campbell won the World Match Play Championship by beating Paul McGinley 2 and 1 in the final.

Campbell took advantage of some errors by the Irishman on the closing holes at Wentworth to wrap up the match with a chip to 1 foot on the 35th green.

The victory earned Campbell ?1 million (US$1.8 million), the largest prize in golf.

It also put The New Zealander on top of the European Order of Merit ahead of Retief Goosen, who he beat in Saturday's semifinals.

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