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Golf Roundup

Playoff payoffs for Stricker, Johnson

Associated Press / June 1, 2009
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Steve Stricker has all sorts of top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season. Now he has the best one, too.

Stricker birdied the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Tim Clark and Steve Marino and win the Crowne Plaza Invitational yesterday at Fort Worth. It was his first title after being second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh at other tournaments this year.

Clark came in having won the most money ($12.7 million) without winning a tournament in PGA Tour history. His 0-for-183 skid seemed likely to end when he held a two-stroke lead with five holes left to play. He was tied for the tournament record and was the most accurate driver of the week.

But he couldn't keep it up. His next tee shot landed in the rough, as did his drive on No. 18. He took bogeys on both holes, coming up short on his par putt on the final hole to force the playoff - the third in four years at Colonial Country Club.

On the first extra hole, Clark put his approach 7 feet from the cup. Stricker and Marino missed their birdie tries, so Clark had another chance at victory. He got the distance right but rolled it left of the cup. He dropped his head in disbelief then pulled his hat over his face while the others made their par putts.

On the second hole, Stricker put his approach within 4 feet and Clark almost matched it - but his approach hit the stick and rolled more than 20 feet away. He missed his birdie try and Stricker sank his for his fifth career win.

Nationwide - Pembroke's Kevin Johnson birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Jeff Gallagher and win the Rex Hospital Open at Raleigh, N.C.

Gallagher shot 7-under 64 and wound up in a playoff when Johnson, playing in the final group, made a 4-footer for birdie at the par-5 18th.

"I just knew I had to make birdie on 18, and then I was like, 'All right, I've got a chance here,' " Johnson said. "Honestly, that whole back nine, I didn't think I was going to catch him."

The players headed back to the 18th tee, and each reached the green in regulation. Gallagher rolled his 6-footer for birdie by the hole, and Johnson knocked his in from 5 feet for his first Nationwide Tour win since 2006.

Johnson took home $94,500 to move up to fourth on the Nationwide money list. Champions - Mark McNulty won the Principal Charity Classic, beating Fred Funk with a long birdie putt on the fourth hole of a playoff.

McNulty closed with a 5-under 66 to match Funk (66) and second-round leader Nick Price (68) at 10-under 203 on the Glen Oaks Country Club course. McNulty and Funk birdied the second extra hole, eliminating Price.

McNulty saved par on the third playoff hole - on the par-4 17th - after hitting to the fringe of the green, and Funk's birdie putt lipped out.

Funk then couldn't convert a tough birdie try on the par-4 18th, and McNulty made his putt for his first win since 2007.

European - Christian Cevaer fired a final-round 2-over 74 for a 281 total to win the European Open in Ash, England.