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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > FedEx St Jude Classic > Round 4


Jeff Maggert wins again after seven years

Jeff Maggert finally found a putter and a mental approach that really works.

Maggert had been searching for the right loft and lie for months, bending nearly every putter in his closet. He settled on one Thursday and used it to roll in four birdies and an eagle Sunday in winning the St. Jude Classic for his third PGA Tour title and first since 1999.

"I'm sure the guys in the Ping trailer will be happy," said Maggert, who closed with a 5-under 65 for a three-stroke victory over Tom Pernice Jr. "They might not see me for a while."

Maggert began the round three strokes back, and he sealed his first victory since the 1999 WGC-Accenture Match Play by rolling in a 36-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th for a three-stroke lead. He became the fourth player this year to come from behind on the final day to win.

He had a lone bogey in the final round, but his putter was the key with no birdie closer than 6 feet and the longest a 33-footer on the par-4 17th that helped him finish at 9-under 271 on the TPC at Southwind, the first time the winner here has been in single digits on this course.

"When it's all done, Jeff did it," Pernice said. "He closed the door. He played good. He deserves to win. No excuses there."

Pernice, who started Sunday tied with Tim Herron for the lead, shot a 71. John Cook, who won here at 26 under in 1996, closed with a 71 to tie for third with Kris Cox (72) at 4 under.

Herron, trying to join Phil Mickelson as the only players to win consecutive tournaments on the tour this year, had a pair of double bogeys and finished with a 77 to fall into a tie for 16th at even-par 280.

Maggert had missed his last three cuts and his best finish a tie for eighth in Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January. He hadn't even planned to play here but came here when he failed to get into Colonial last week as an alternate.

"I would've bet I would've won more times by now," Maggert said. "With five kids at home, I have a lot of other priorities that are important to me in my life. It's just great I can come out here and do this ... and still fortunate I can come out and win at the age of 42."

He came into this event tied for 149th in putting average on tour. He needed only 25 putts Sunday and finished with only 99 through four rounds. He became only the second player this year to have fewer than 100 putts and win.

Maggert said he had tried not to worry too much about his mechanics and the putter.

"It gets to be such a mental thing. Like I've said, I've tried to simplify and not think too much on the greens. Just read the putts on the lines that I'm seeing," Maggert said.

The final round started with Pernice and Herron tied at 7 under, and eight players within four strokes. Herron promptly bogeyed his first hole, starting a wild afternoon.

When Cox bogeyed No. 7, he fell into a five-way tie atop the leaderboard with Herron, Pernice, Jay Delsing and Cook.

Herron first fell off the pace with a double bogey on the par-4 seventh when he hit his tee shot into thick rough left that forced him to hit out left onto a tee box for No. 2. He hit his third onto the green but three-putted.

Cook then bogeyed No. 10 and fell back to 5 under.

Maggert birdied the par-3 11th with an 8-footer and went to 6 under. Pernice, two groups back in the final pairing, made it a three-way tie again with an 18-foot birdie putt that rolled on the right edge and around the back before finally falling in.

Cox, playing in only his 39th PGA Tour event with his best finish a tie for 18th here in 2004, dropped back with a bogey on No. 13.

That left Maggert and Pernice tied at 6 under, with Cook, Cox and Delsing a stroke back. Maggert finally emerged as the lone leader when Pernice bogeyed the par-3, 225-yard 14th.

Pernice left his tee shot just short of the green, 87 feet short of the pin tucked far right behind water. His second came up 9 feet short and two-putted for bogey. He talked with rules officials about his putter touching the ball on address, but was not penalized because he didn't advance it.

"It caught both Tim and I off-guard," Pernice said.

Maggert didn't know he had a share of the lead until he finished up on No. 15. He went to the 530-yard 16th hoping for a birdie and hit a 2-iron that rolled to the back of the green.

"I was a little worried about maybe hitting it too hard. I wanted to make sure I two-putted for bird. I just hit it on line. It went in," Maggert said.



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