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Americans' lone mistake gives Japan World Cup

©Associated Press
December 16, 2002

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Americans Phil Mickelson and David Toms played mistake-free golf three rounds and 17 holes of the World Cup.

But it was a miscue on the final hole that cost them.

The Japanese team of Shigeki Maruyama and Toshimitsu Izawa won the two-man event over the top-seeded American team by two after Toms' second shot on the par-4 18th landed in the rocky hazard next to the green and the Americans double bogeyed, their first bogey of the tournament. It was Japan's first World Cup win since 1957.

The final hole left the Americans shaking their heads.

"We played good," Toms said. "Didn't make a bogey all week and then finished with double bogey on the last hole. I hit a difficult shot but, at the same time, a bad shot."

Japan (66) finished 36 under. The U.S. team shot 65.

Mickelson and Toms were in position to win after shooting 15-under 57 Saturday in the best-ball format, then playing well through 17 in the final.

"The last hole certainly was a disappointing way for us to finish, given that we fought so hard yesterday and today to get back in the tournament," Mickelson said.

Maruyama said it was not until he and Izawa were walking down the 18th fairway that they found out about the Americans' miscue.

"One spectator told us that the putt David Toms missed was a double bogey," he said.

Maruyama then hit a great approach shot on the 18th, leaving Izawa an easy 2-foot putt for par.

South Korea (66) and England (68) tied for third at 30 under Defending champion South Africa shot 71 and finished another stroke back.

FATHER-SON CHALLENGE: Kevin Stadler made an 8-foot birdie to force a playoff, then father Craig Stadler holed a 30-foot birdie on the first extra hole to win in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Steve and Hale Irwin birdied the first eight on the back nine, but their only par allowed the playoff. Both teams shot 12-under 60 in a scramble format and finished 24-under 120.

"We were tied after nine, then made eight birdies on the back nine and still almost lost it outright. That just ain't right," said Stadler, the 1982 Masters champ.

Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion, and his son missed a 15-foot birdie on the first playoff hole. Raymond Floyd, a five-time winner in seven years, was two strokes short while paired with Raymond Jr. They shot 60 and finished at 122 with Johnny and John Miller Jr.

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