Tue, Jun 03, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Perry defies conditions to win

ON TOP IN OHIO The 47-year-old from Kentucky played what he described as one of his greatest rounds in a long time to post his 10th PGA Tour victory in Dublin

AFP , DUBLIN, OHIO

Kenny Perry defied difficult conditions to post a decisive two-shot victory at the Memorial tournament on Sunday.

Perry called his three-under-par 69 one of the “top five” rounds of his life, and his eight-under total of 280 saw him join Tiger Woods as the only players to win the prestigious event hosted by Jack Nicklaus three times.

Perry, who posted his 10th PGA Tour victory, also became the oldest Memorial champion.

The 47-year-old also buoyed his Ryder Cup hopes, jumping to fifth in the US Ryder Cup standings.

Jerry Kelly (71), Canadian Mike Weir (71), Australian Mathew Goggin (74) and England’s Justin Rose (71) tied for second at six-under.

Goggin went into the final round with a three-stroke lead, but had two early bogeys.

Perry started the day three shots adrift and produced a flawless front nine to take a share of the lead, which he never relinquished on the demanding back nine.

“It was one of the greatest rounds I remember in a long time, playing in tough conditions,” Perry said. “I shot three-under on the front nine and it could have been six-under. I mean, I had it close on every hole. My iron shots were precise.”

Perry is especially eager to play in the September Ryder Cup against Europe, since the matches will be held in his home state of Kentucky.

“This may solidify my spot,” Perry said. “When [captain Paul] Azinger said that the guys on his team are going to have to win tournaments, that really changed my thinking. I feel I can be a big part of that team and score points.”

Perry was tied for the lead with former Masters champion Weir after nine holes.

Coming in he had one birdie and one bogey. By the time his lone miscue came at 17, where he missed a five-footer, Perry had some breathing room with a three-stroke edge.

In addition, Kelly missed a three-foot birdie try that would have cut Perry’s lead to one.

Weir had a chance to get within a shot of the lead, but he missed a seven-foot birdie try at 17.

“I hit it right where I wanted,” Weir said. “It was above the hole, so I tapped it and it trickled down there and just didn’t trickle left. I knew I needed to make it to have a chance.”

Rose had got off to a quick start with two early birdies and an eagle from a greenside bunker at seven.

Consecutive bogeys at 12 and 13 left him still in search of his first US tour win.

“I’ve just come off three missed cuts in a row to finish second, so I guess I’ll take it,” Rose said. “But at the same time, I really felt like today could have been my day.”

“I was great mentally out there and the putts just didn’t go in. Winning is all about making the putts at the right time, and I had a hot putter this week,” he said.

“Today I felt I was hitting decent putts, but I didn’t quite have the confidence in the read,” Rose said.

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