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17 Oct 2011 11:11
Two Major title winners from South Africa posted their best US finishes of the year at the McGladrey Classic on Sunday.
Louis Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 British Open at St Andrews, closed with a 66 for fourth place on 267 while 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman carded a 69 for 268.
Ben Crane rallied to win the sudden-death playoff, but Webb Simpson’s runner-up finish saw him overtake Luke Donald on the US PGA Tour’s money list.
Crane had eight birdies—four in a row from the eighth and four in a row from the 14th—in a seven-under 63 on the par-70 seaside course.
He was the first player in the clubhouse on 15-under 265, where he was joined by Simpson, who posted a closing 66.
Crane missed a 6.6m birdie putt at the second extra hole, but he claimed the title moments later when Simpson’s par attempt from within four feet missed.
Third-round leader Michael Thompson, who had led by three shots with nine holes remaining, missed out on the playoff when he bogeyed the 18th hole for a 69 that left him in third on 266.
While Simpson failed to become the only three-time winner on the US tour this season, he moved to the top of the money list by $363 029 over world number one Donald.
Both players have entered the season’s last official tournament at Disney World next week, where Donald will be trying to become the first player to sweep both the European and US tours’ money titles in a single season.
“Finishing second is going to make it a lot harder for Luke,” Simpson said. “But I’m sure he’s going to play well.
He’s played well most every week this year.
‘Hit in the middle’
Crane won’t be playing next week. He’ll be at home in Dallas, where his wife, Heather, is expecting a baby on Monday.
After both Crane and Simpson parred the first extra hole, the 18th, they returned to the par-three 17th.
Both were on the green, Simpson 10.5m away and Crane 6.6m from the hole.
After Simpson’s first putt, Crane ran his past, but made his par putt coming back. Simpson’s par attempt then brushed the edge but failed to drop.
The sudden-death finish extended the record number of playoff deciders on the PGA Tour this year to 18.
Thompson was disappointed that he wasn’t in it, after his tee shot at 18 found a hazard and he had to take a penalty drop.
“All I think about on those tee shots is just hit in the middle of the club face,” Thompson said. “And for one reason, that one tee shot I didn’t. And it got me.”
The rookie’s third place finish ensures he’ll keep his playing card for next season.—AFP
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