Tue, Aug 29, 2006 - Page 18 News List

MacKenzie hangs on to first PGA victory

AFP , RENO, NEVADA

Will MacKenzie let slip a three-shot lead but sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the last here on Sunday to claim his first PGA Tour victory at the US$3 million Reno-Tahoe Open.

Entering Sunday's final round of the tied for the lead with Bob Estes, MacKenzie found himself in the same position on 18.

Both players set up makable birdie putts with their approaches, but Estes two-putted from 15 feet for par.

MacKenzie then seized the opportunity, draining his putt to cap a one-under-par 71 for a winning total of 20-under 268.

"I was sort of like, `Wow, it went in,'" MacKenzie said. "I hadn't made any all day."

Estes signed for an even-par 72 to finish at 19-under 268.

The win will go a long way toward making this a memorable season for MacKenzie after a start that was anything but.

He came into Reno having missed more cuts (11) than he had made (10) this season, with his best finish a 23rd at the BellSouth in April.

Now MacKenzie is adding the first prize of US$540,000 to his career total which was US$472,686 entering this week.

MacKenzie birdied two of his first four holes while Estes stumbled out of the gate with a double-bogey at the first.

Estes, who had entered the third round with a one-shot lead after setting the tournament's 36-hole scoring record, wasn't nearly as sharp over the weekend.

Trailing by three shots after 11, Estes put some pressure on MacKenzie with consecutive birdies at 14 and 15 to pull within one shot.

After MacKenzie bogeyed 17, the two were tied once again heading to 18.

"I figured if I was there at the end, I'd win the golf tournament," said Estes, who claimed the last of his four wins four years ago. "But my game wasn't really sharp enough."

Joe Ogilvie made a run up the leaderboard, blistering the back nine and signed for a course record-tying 10-under 62.

Ogilvie fired a 28 on the back nine, tied for the second lowest nine-hole score on tour this season.

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