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Howell earns his first win in 68 starts

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 7, 2002

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Charles Howell III made a clutch up-and-down birdie on the 15th hole Sunday and beat Brandt Jobe and Scott Hoch by two shots for his first career victory in the final Michelob Championship.

Howell, 23, parred the last two holes for 4-under 67 and won for the first time in his 68th career start with 14-under 270 at Kingsmill.

"It's hard to put into words. It really hasn't sunk in yet," Howell said, adding that he's heard repeatedly he was overdue for a victory.

"After a while, you start listening to it."

Howell became the 14th first-time winner on the PGA Tour this year, tying the record set in 1991, and the sixth player to break through here.

It was the 22nd and final PGA Tour event on the 6,853-yard River Course, which will host the LPGA Tour beginning next year.

Jobe, who matched Howell's birdie at No. 15 but bogeyed the next hole, drove into the rough on the par-4 finishing hole. He hit his second shot into the greenside rough, missed a chip to tie and two-putted for 72.

"It was just a frustrating day because it was so close to being good and so close to being bad," said Jobe, who led by one entering the final round. "It was kind of one of those days."

Scott Hoch rallied for 69 to match Jobe's 272, Geoff Oglivy was fourth at 273 after 70, and Billy Mayfair finished at 274 after 73.

Mayfair joined the also-rans on the 383-yard 14th hole when he drove into the rough, failed to get out on his next two shots, chunked a chip onto the greenside fringe, chipped well past the hole and two-putted.

SAMSUNG WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Annika Sorenstam shot 7-under 65 in Vallejo, Calif., to pull away from Cristie Kerr. Sorenstam finished at 22-under 266, six ahead of Kerr, who began the day tied with Sorenstam. It was Sorenstam's ninth victory, beating her career best of eight, set last year. With the winner's share of $162,000, she boosted her earnings to $2.374-million, well over the LPGA record of $2.105-million she set in 2001. She also beat the tournament record of 14 under, done four times, most recently by Juli Inkster in 2000 at Hiddenbrooke.

TURTLE BAY CHAMPIONSHIP: Hale Irwin birdied the first playoff hole to beat Gary McCord. Irwin raised his putter and smiled after sinking the winning 8-foot putt in Kahuku, Hawaii, where he has won the past two years. He also won the event in 1997 and 2000 when it was held on Maui and called the Kaanapali Classic. He was 0-5 in senior playoffs. With the victory, his fourth of the year, Irwin clinched the Charles Schwab Cup and earned the $1-million annuity. McCord closed with 3-under 69 to match Irwin at 8-under 208. Irwin finished at 70 after his 8-foot birdie attempt on No. 18 lipped the top of the cup. Irwin joins Jack Nicklaus as the only player to win the same tournament four times. Nicklaus won the Tradition in 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996.

MONTEREY PENINSULA CLASSIC: Roland Thatcher, who shot a course-record 66 in his first round, finished with 2-over 74 and totaled 5-under 283 for a two-shot win over Aaron Baddeley at the Tour event in Seaside, Calif.

MID-AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Jacksonville's David Anthony claimed his second Florida title at the Country Club of Ocala, defeating Ken Moody of Ponte Vedra Beach 1-up in the match-play final.

DUNHILL LINKS CHAMPIONSHIP: Padraig Harrington made a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat Eduardo Romero in the European PGA event. Harrington made a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation for 3-under 69 at St. Andrews, Scotland. Romero missed an 8-foot birdie try at No. 18, finishing with 69 and tying Harrington at 19-under 269. Colin Montgomerie birdied nine of his first 12 holes and closed with a course-record-tying 9-under 63, finishing in a tie for third with Sandy Lyle (68) and Vijay Singh (70) at 271.

SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR: Three-time defending champion Carol Semple Thompson of Sewickley, Pa., shot 2-over 74 to earn medalist honors at Mid-Pines Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

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