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PGA: Stephen Ames coasts to six shot win
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THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP, TPC at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Now that the "slump" of 2001 is over, Tiger Woods can concentrate on a tournament that eluded him last year.

Finishing the final round on Monday due to rain and lightning, Woods and Hal Sutton battled throughout the final seven holes of the 2000 edition. Sutton held a three-shot edge heading into Monday's round and when Woods bogeyed the 12th hole, Sutton's lead climbed to four.

The world- number-one clawed back with a birdie at 13 and an eagle at 16 to draw within one as the players played 18. Woods needed to birdie the hole to catch Sutton but hit his approach shot 30 feet left of the hole. Sutton then stepped up and hit the famous "Be the right club today" shot that landed eight feet short of the stick, wrapping up his 12th PGA Tour title.

Sutton, at 41-years, 10 months and 28 days, became the oldest winner of THE PLAYERS Championship, replacing Calvin Peete who was 41-years, eight months and 13 days when he titled in 1985. Five times in the 27-year history of this event play has spilled over to Monday with the most recent time before last year in 1983 when Sutton posted a one-shot win over Bob Eastwood. Sutton will look to become the first player to win back-to-back titles here and only the second player to win this event three times, joining Jack Nicklaus, who captured this championship in 1974, 1976 and 1978.

Hall Sutton, aiming for his 3rd Players Championship title. Allsport.

Steve Elkington's win in 1997 had the largest margin of victory at THE PLAYERS Championship when he won by seven over Scott Hoch. Ben Crenshaw is the only player to compete in all 27 THE PLAYERS Championships. Only two THE PLAYERS Championships were decided in playoffs: the 1981 event where Ray Floyd bested Curtis Strange and Barry Jaeckel in one extra hole and in 1987 when Sandy Lyle parred the third playoff hole to defeat Jeff Sluman.

The TPC at Sawgrass has hosted this event for 19 consecutive years. The purse was increased to $6 million last year, a PGA Tour record. The purse remained the same for the 2001 edition with the winner pocketing over $1 million. USA Network has the coverage on Thursday and Friday while NBC will take over on the weekend. Next week, the PGA Tour moves to Georgia for the BellSouth Classic, where Phil Mickelson is expected to be on hand to defend his title. The BellSouth Classic marks the final tune-up for players before the first major of the season, The Masters, April 5-8.

LPGA TOUR

THE NABISCO CHAMPIONSHIP, Mission Hills Country Club, Rancho Mirage, California. Karrie Webb is on hand to defend her championship as the LPGA Tour presents its first major of the season. Webb last year blew through the field when she posted a 10-shot victory over 1999 champion Dottie Pepper. It was Webb's first of two majors in 2000 as she also captured the U.S. Women's Open. She became the sixth golfer to win the event in wire-to-wire fashion, with the most recent time this occurred prior to Webb was Pat Hurst in 1998. Webb is looking to become only the second golfer to win this title in consecutive years. Sandra Post is the only one to accomplish that feat when she won back-to-back titles in 1978-1979.

Thirteen-year old Aree Song Wongluekiet was the low amateur last year when she tied for 10th. Webb remained winless this season when she finished tied for seventh at the Standard Register PING. Annika Sorenstam has to be considered a favorite after she became the first female golfer to shoot a 59 in an LPGA-sanctioned event at the Standard Register PING. Her 27-under score was the lowest ever in LPGA history for a 72-hole event and her total of 261 matched Se Ri Pak for lowest ever on the LPGA Tour.

Betsy King and Amy Alcott are the only three-time winners in the history of this championship. Pepper established a new tournament record of 19- under 269 with her win in 1999. Formerly called the Colgate Dinah Shore and Nabisco Dinah Shore, this tournament was designated one of the four major championships in 1983 with Alcott picking up the victory. The purse was increased $250,000 from last year, meaning the players are competing for $ 1,500,000. ESPN has the telecast on Thursday and Friday with ABC taking over on the weekend. Next week, the LPGA Tour has off but will return April 12-15 with the City of Hope LPGA Classic where Grace Park will be on hand to defend.

SENIOR TOUR

EMERALD COAST CLASSIC, The Moors Golf Club, Milton, Florida Gil Morgan fired a final-round 67 to win the 2000 edition of this event by four shots over Larry Nelson. Morgan had missed the first eight tournaments of the 2000 season due to a rib injury and made this his first win of the season. Playoffs have decided three of the six previous Emerald Coast Classics. When Bob Duval won this event in 1999, he joined his son David as the only father-son duo to win PGA Tour-sanctioned events on the same day as David captured the Players Championship.

Duval was forced to withdraw from his title defense in 2000 due to a fractured elbow. There has never been a multiple winner in the six-year history of this tournament. The purse was increased by $150,000 for this year's championship with the winner taking home $210,000. PAX has the coverage on Friday with CNBC televising the weekend action. The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament is next up on the Senior Tour where Morgan and Hubert Green will look to defend their title.

EUROPEAN TOUR

SAO PAULO BRAZIL OPEN, Sao Paulo Golf Club, Sao Paulo, Brazil Padriag Harrington posted a two-shot victory over Gerry Norquist at last year's inaugural Sao Paulo Open. The Irishman carded all four rounds in the 60s as he earned his second win on the European Tour. Harrington will not be on hand to defend his title because he will be competing on the PGA Tour at THE PLAYERS Championship. One player in top-100 in the World Golf Rankings, Andrew Coltart, will be in this week's field. Next week the European Tour heads to Argentina for the first-ever Open de Argentina.


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