Justin Leonard knows what the previous two Bob Hope Chrysler Classic champions went on to accomplish, although he isn't phoning in his coat size to Augusta just yet.
Leonard came from three shots back to pass faltering front-runner Joe Ogilvie on the third hole yesterday on his way to a 5-under-par 67 and a three-shot victory over Ogilvie and Tim Clark in La Quinta, Calif.
Last year's champion, Phil Mickelson, used the Hope as an early springboard to win the Masters, his first major title. Mike Weir, the 2003 Hope winner, went on to don the green jacket at Augusta that year.
"I would say it's just coincidence, but look at the two guys who won this tournament the previous two years," Leonard said. "Two pretty good players that probably set up pretty well for Augusta."
Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, ended a winless string that stretched back almost two years.
"I enjoy taking pressure off myself, because I'm usually a little more relaxed and have a little more fun," he said. "It will inspire me a bit, knowing that one is not enough.
"I've been sitting on eight [career] wins for almost two years, and it's nice to get a ninth."
Leonard finished the 90-hole tournament at 28-under 332.
Ogilvie, winless in his six years on Tour, had a closing 73. Clark, who won the South African Open in his native country a week earlier, shot 69.
Coming off his worst year since joining the Tour full time in 1995, Leonard rolled in six birdie putts and had just one bogey in the final round.
He began the day three shots behind Ogilvie, who had been tied for the lead or alone at the top since the opening round of the five-day event.
"The rain dance didn't work," Ogilvie said, joking. "I was trying for a rainout today, but that didn't happen.
"I certainly didn't play the way I would have liked today, but I got a pretty good front-row seat for a great round of golf [by Leonard]. I felt very comfortable."
Clark's performance was impressive considering he had never seen any of the four courses used for the Hope. After he won in South Africa, he hopped on a plane and spent some 50 hours traveling to the five-day Hope. "I can't even remember my [final] round, to be honest." Clark said. Champions -- Hale Irwin became the first player to win a men's professional tour event five straight times, easily holding off Dana Quigley by five strokes in the Turtle Bay Championship in Kahuku, Hawaii. The 59-year-old Irwin closed with a 5-under 67 for a record 16-under 200 total.
Quigley, the MasterCard winner last week, shot a 69. Allen Doyle (71) and Tom Watson (67) tied for third.
European -- Nick Dougherty won his first PGA European Tour title, shooting a 5-under 67 for a five-stroke victory in the Caltex Masters in Singapore. The 22-year-old Englishman had an 18-under 270 total. Colin Montgomerie, the 2004 winner, closed with a 70 to tie for second with Maarten Lafeber (69).