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3-way playoff ends in Rollins' first win

©Associated Press
September 9, 2002

MARKHAM, Ontario -- A collapse by Neal Lancaster produced a surprising winner Sunday in the Canadian Open.

John Rollins, resigned to a runner-up finish, made a three-way playoff when Lancaster double-bogeyed the 72nd hole, then ended it early, making a 20-foot birdie on the first extra hole for his first PGA Tour victory.

"I thought it was going to be a tie for second, a great week," said Rollins after shooting 7-under 65 and beating Lancaster and Justin Leonard in the sudden-death playoff. "We did one better. It's amazing."

It was disheartening for Lancaster, whose happy-go-lucky week at Angus Glen crumbled on the final hole.

"I guess I know how Jean-Claude van Damme feels or whatever his name is," he said.

Lancaster was referring to Jean Van de Velde, whose triple bogey on the 72nd at Carnoustie cost him the British Open.

With a two-stroke lead and his drive in the middle of the 18th fairway, Lancaster pulled his approach into deep rough left of the bunker, about 35 yards from the flag. His chip went into a valley, almost 40 feet from the cup.

Lancaster needed two putts to win for the first time in eight years and 265 tournaments. Instead, he missed bogey from 4 feet.

"It wasn't meant to be, I don't guess," Lancaster said. "I don't think I'll ever forget that I blew the Canadian Open on the last hole."

Rollins played unnoticed until three straight birdies on the back nine put him in second. He finished 16-under 272.

The key proved to be the 18th hole in regulation.

Rollins pulled his approach into the left bunker, but blasted out to 12 feet and saved par.

Leonard lipped out a long eagle putt on No. 16 and made a 10-foot par save from the bunker on No. 17, keeping him one stroke back. Thinking he needed birdie to win, his 6-iron bounced off the grandstand, and Leonard missed a 10-foot par putt to finish at 69 and 16 under.

Rollins hit the best drive on the playoff hole at No. 18, and he was the only one to hit the green.

Lancaster again hit a poor approach, taking his hand off the club as the ball sailed into the bunker. He barely got it on the green, then lipped out his par putt.

Leonard hit the fringe and rolled his putt 3 feet by the hole for par. But Rollins took a few steps sideways as the ball approached the cup, then raised his arms when it fell.

The 27-year-old became the 13th this year to earn his first tour win.

* * *

WILLIAMS CHAMPIONSHIP: Annika Sorenstam won her seventh LPGA Tour title of the year and ninth world event, shooting 5-under 65 for a four-stroke win in Tulsa, Okla.

"This is shaping up to be my best season probably," said Sorenstam, who won eight tour titles last year and has 39 victories in nine seasons.

Sorenstam birdied four of the last six to hold off Lorie Kane (68) with 11-under 199. Cristie Kerr (69) and Joanne Mills (67) tied for third at 6 under. Meg Mallon shot 64, the best score of the final round, to match Tampa's Beth Bauer (69) at 4 under.

"I was upset over shooting so poorly on the first day," said Mallon, who opened with 74. "It was just a lack of knowledge of this course."

KROGER CLASSIC: Bob Gilder made a 2-foot birdie on the second playoff hole to beat Tom Jenkins in the Senior PGA Tour event in Maineville, Ohio. Jenkins had 10 birdies in a course-record 10-under 62 and led at 16 under. Gilder birdied No. 18, tying Jenkins at 200. Hale Irwin (64) finished 9-under 201. Tom Kite and Bruce Lietzke, who matched the course record with 62, were at 203.

EUROPEAN MASTERS: After losing his lead because of a terrible start, Robert Karlsson rallied for par 71 to win the European PGA event by four in Crans-Sur-Sierre, Switzerland. He finished 14-under 270 ahead of Paul Lawrie and Trevor Immelman, both of whom shot 72. Karlsson led after every round, but bogeyed Nos. 2, 3 and 4, falling to a four-way tie with Lawrie, Barry Lane and Emanuele Canonica. He reclaimed the lead with birdies on Nos. 11, 13 and 15.

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