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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > Champions Tour > Greater Hickory Classic > Round 3


Andy Bean beats RW Eaks in playoff

Andy Bean won the Greater Hickory Classic for his first Champions Tour title Sunday, two-putting for birdie from 25 feet to beat R.W. Eaks on the first hole of a playoff.

Bean, the leader after each of the first two rounds, closed with a 4-under 68 to match Eaks (65) at 15-under 201 on Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course and force the first playoff in tournament history. While Bean two-putted for birdie on the first extra hole, Eaks' 4-foot birdie try hit the lip and spun out.

The 53-year-old Bean, who earned a career-best $240,000, won in his 91st start on the 50-and-over tour after winning 11 times on the PGA Tour. He won an official PGA Tour-sanctioned event for the first time since the 1986 Byron Nelson Classic, and his first victory of any kind since the 1987 Kapalua International.

"It's a relief to finally come out and win," Bean said. "You don't forget what it feels like, but it's nice to come back and experience it.

"You've got to feel for R.W., because he kept making birdies and I kept making pars. It was a great round of golf. It was a good thing I had a lead, because I was able to outlast him."

Bean opened with rounds of the 63 and 70 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round. Eaks, whose previous best tour finish was a tie for second in Naples, Fla., earlier this year, was five strokes back after the first nine holes.

But Eaks made up ground with six birdies over the final seven holes, while Bean bogeyed Nos. 10 and 12 before making birdies at Nos. 15 and 18.

"When Andy had that lead, I was just trying to come in second," said Eaks, who received treatment for a back problem before the round. "I didn't even know if I was even going to play today. I thought about pulling out, but it worked out great for me."

Chip Beck, who tied for fifth two weeks ago in Maryland in his tour debut, closed with a 67 to finish third at 13 under. He had a chance to join the playoff after making five birdies on the back nine, but his chip out of the bunker for eagle on No. 18 went left of the hole.

Dana Quigley (66) finished at 12 under, and Joe Ozaki (66), Tom Purtzer (68), Hajime Meshiai (68) and Allen Doyle (70) followed at 11 under.


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