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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > PGA Tour > The International > Round 4


Dean Wilson beats Tom Lehman in playoff

A Hawaiian-born golfer finally has won a tournament, and it's not a certain 16-year-old girl.

Dean Wilson birdied the second extra hole to beat Tom Lehman in a playoff at the $5.5 million International tournament on Sunday, becoming the first player from the island state to win on the PGA Tour since David Ishii at the 1990 Hawaiian Open.

Until Sunday, Wilson was best known for playing the first two rounds with Annika Sorenstam at the 2003 Colonial.

"That was a great experience but I kept telling myself I've got to win a tournament so I can be known for something else," Wilson said.

Wilson finished regulation tied with Lehman at 34 points in the modified Stableford format at Castle Pines, two points ahead of Daisuke Maruyama and Steve Flesch, who missed a 13-foot birdie chance at the last hole to make it a three-way playoff.

The 36-year-old Wilson rolled in a six-footer to finally prove himself on the world's toughest tour, after cutting his teeth all over the world.

"Growing up in Hawaii and wanting to play on the PGA Tour, there's an internal battle you have trying to compete with everyone on the mainland," he explained. "It seems I heard a lot of people saying it can't be done, you can't beat those guys, they're so good.

"I wasn't good enough coming out of high school to get a scholarship and then I wasn't very good at college. I had to go overseas. I started in Australia, went to Canada, played the Asian Tour for four years before qualifying for the Japanese Tour, and that's the kind of first major tour I was on."

Wilson won six times in four years in Japan before finally earning his PGA Tour card for the 2003 season, but he didn't finish higher than 98th on the money list in his first three seasons.

With his victory Sunday, though, he collected $990,000 to jump to 21st on this year's money list.

For Lehman, it was another bitter pill to swallow as he fell short once again, dropping his playoff record to 0-3.

"It's no fun finishing second," said Lehman, who has done so more often than he cares to remember, with 19 runner-up finishes to go with his five tour victories.

It was no consolation that he would have won had the format been stroke play, as he shot 13-under-par, while Wilson would only have tied for seventh at 9-under.

A victory would have vaulted American Ryder Cup captain Lehman to seventh in his own team's standings, although that would have been academic, because he says he probably would not play even if he qualified.

"I decided a while back that unless there was some crazy, unforeseen circumstance, I would not play," he said. "My putting is just a little too erratic. I don't putt poorly usually, don't three-putt a lot. I just don't make enough putts, and in the Ryder Cup, it's all about putting and chipping."

Lehman's inability to make the crucial putts was on display at the par-5 17th, where he had a 15-footer for eagle and almost certain victory, only to leave his putt inches short, right in the jaws. It's difficult to envisage Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson not getting the ball to the hole in similar circumstances.

"I misjudged the speed," he said. "I hit a beautiful putt right on line. I was shocked I could leave that putt short. It must not have been as fast as it looked, but that was a key miss."

Bubba Watson could only lament what might have been, too, after a late meltdown sent him plummeting from the lead all the way into a tie for sixth.

Watson, the longest driver on tour, hit a horrible tee shot at the par-5 17th, a pushed 2-iron that went only 92 yards after striking a tree. He compounded his problems by hitting his next shot, another 2-iron, into a hazard, where he had to stand barefoot in icy water to hack his third back to the fairway.

A poor fourth shot led to a double bogey and a three-point deduction, ending his chances of victory.

"I should have taken more time after chipping out of the water," Watson said. "I just got rushed and hit a terrible shot and then chocked on my putt. I had nerves all the way from the eagle on (No. 8) until the last."



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