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Late birdies boost DiMarco

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- To see Chris DiMarco falter Sunday was probably not much of a surprise. Masters rookies typically have a hard time, and DiMarco appeared out of his league contending for the title.

But the former University of Florida golfer made a nice comeback after falling behind on the front nine. Although he shot 74, his birdies at 16 and 18 were huge. They helped secure a tie for 10th, which gets him a return invitation to the Masters. He also made $128,800.

"I learned a lot this week. I learned to slow down and be patient," said DiMarco, 32, who lives in Orlando and has one PGA Tour title. "It was fun. There was so much electricity out there all week. It was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to get back here next year."

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF: Give Brad Faxon credit for not giving up. He made quadruple-bogey 8 at No. 11 to drop from 9 under to 5 under, seriously damaging his chances for a top-10 finish. But Faxon birdied Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16, shooting 71 to tie for 10th.

SINGH SAD: Vijay Singh's final-round 69 was a small consolation to the defending Masters champion. Singh, who came into the tournament with four consecutive top-four finishes on the PGA Tour, along with two victories in Asia, finished tied for 18th at 282, 6 under par.

"I played okay, but I still left a lot out there," said Singh, who shot his first over-par round on tour this year on Saturday. "It was disappointing the second and third days. I just didn't take advantage."

NEW GROUND: Japan's Toshi Izawa matched the lowest round of the day, a 5-under-par 67, to finish fourth, the highest at the Masters by a Japanese player. The previous best was a tie for eighth by Jumbo Ozaki in 1973 and again by Tommy Nakajima in 1986.

LOCAL WATCH: Bradenton's Paul Azinger shot 69 to tie for 15th and assure himself an invitation back to the Masters. The top 16 and ties receive invitations. ... With a back-nine 31, Safety Harbor's John Huston shot 69 to finish at 5-under-par 283, tied for 20th. Huston played the last six holes in 5 under, including an eagle at the par-3 13th. Huston can earn his 13th straight Masters invitation for 2002 by remaining ranked among the top 50 players in the world. He is ranked 27th.

ETC.: David Duval's 14-under 274 is the best score not to win the Masters. In 1995, Davis Love shot 275 and was runner-up to Ben Crenshaw. ... Stuart Appleby entered the final round having played 50 consecutive holes at Augusta in par or better, breaking the record of 43 set by Ben Hogan in 1947. He bogeyed the first hole Sunday. ... The $5.6-million purse went up $1-million from last year. Five years ago, Nick Faldo received $450,000 for winning, a figure that has more than doubled. For more perspective: the entire Masters purse was $1-million in 1988, $519,699 in 1983. ... Izawa tied a Masters record by playing the 15th hole in 6 under par (two birdies, two eagles).

The PGA majors

2001 Results

Masters, April 8, Tiger Woods wins by two shots.

Coming up

U.S. Open, June 14-17, Southern Hills CC, Tulsa, Okla. Defending champion: Woods.

British Open, July 19-22, Royal Lytham and St. Annes. Defending champion: Woods.

PGA Championship, Aug. 16-19, Atlanta Athletic club, Duluth, Ga. Defending champion: Woods.

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