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Buick Challenge
Callaway Gardens Resort
Pine Mountain, Ga
1st - 4th October 1998

Par 72 Prize Money $1.5 million

Final Round Report

Elkington caps off final-day surge with playoff victory

Associated Press

Pine Mountain, Ga, 4th October 1998 -  Steve Elkington spoiled the victory party for Fred Funk, who had led wire-to-wire on one of his favorite courses.

Elkington, coming from four shots back in regulation today, parred the first playoff hole to defeat Funk and capture the $1.5 million Buick Challenge.

Funk, who won here in 1995 and was the runnerup in 1996, had called the Mountain View course at Callaway Gardens resort -- 75 miles southwest of Atlanta -- one of his three favorite courses after his opening round 63 and because of his past success.

Elkington, however, likes the place, too.

"I love coming here. I know how to play the course," said the native of Australia who won here in 1994. By winning the playoff, he became only the third two-time winner in the tournament's history (Hubert Green, 1975 and 1984; and Jerry Pate in 1977-78, when it was known as the Southern Open).

Elkington, sidelined for a month earlier this year with a bout of viral meningitis, shot a 5-under-par 65 for a 267 to tie Funk, who had a 69 in the final round over the par 72, 7,057-yard hilly course surrounded by pine trees.

"I think this course suits Fred because he's a straight hitter, but that's my strong suit as well," said Elkington.

On the first playoff hole -- the par 4, 432-yard 18th hole, Funk hit into a fairway bunker, 184 yards from the pin, and Elkington hit into the short rough about 150 yards from the pin.

"I hit my worst drive of the week," said Funk, whose ball was buried in the sand. "I had a bad lie and was pretty much dead. I was just in a place where you can't hit it.

"I was just hoping against hope that I could hit one of my greatest shots ever," he said.

It wasn't.

Funk's second shot hit the lip of the bunker and caromed into the fairway about 20 yards sideways, and his third shot landed in the deep rough, five yards off the green -- all before Elkington's second shot. Funk's fourth shot landed 8 feet beyond the pin.

Elkington's second shot was in the middle of the green, and he calmly two-putted for his par and the ninth win of his career, the first since last year when he won the Doral-Ryder Open and Players's Championship.

The $270,000 first prize gave Elkington $695,000 for the year in 15 events and raised his career earnings to more than $7 million.

Bill Glasson shot a 69 and finished third at 268, one shot behind the leaders. J.L. Lewis had a 68 and was another shot back at 269. Skip Kendall, who had the day's best round with a 63, was next at 271.

Leading money-winner David Duval was another two shots back at 273 after a 69.

Elkington had seven birdies without a bogey in his round, including five birdies on the back nine, highlighted by a 15-footer on 18 for the tie.

Funk, seeking a wire-to-wire victory on one of his favorite courses -- winning here in 1995 and finishing in a second-place tie in 1996 -- had five birdies and two bogeys in his round.

Funk, 30th on the money list entering the tourney, earned $162,000 and is at $987,000 -- by far his best season. He has had five tour wins, including one earlier this year at the Deposit Guaranty Classic.

The field consisted of 19 of the top 30 money-winners, including Vijay Singh, the PGA champion, and defending champion Davis Love. Singh had a final-round 74 for 283. Love had a 65-275. Hal Sutton, the winner of the Texas Open last week, had a 69-274.

Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round