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CVS Charity Classic
Pleasant Valley Country Club
Sutton, Massachusetts
23rd - 26th July 1998

Par 71 Prize Money $1.5 million

Final Round Report

Pate wins by one-shot over Hoch and Hughes

Associated Press

Sutton, Mass. 26th July, 1998 - A car crash in the desert left Steve Pate wondering if he could win again. Those doubts ended today despite three consecutive shots into the rough on the 18th hole.

Pate had enough of a cushion to absorb a bogey 6 on the 583-yard hole and win the CVS Charity Classic at 15-under-par 269, one stroke better than Scott Hoch and Bradley Hughes.

"It would have been nice to have a little prettier finish," said Pate, who hadn't won since the 1992 Buick Invitational, "but the result is just as good."

It's a result he thought he might never achieve after he drove his Acura Legend into the back of a slower-moving truck -- "I had road hypnosis" -- on a California highway on his way home from the Phoenix Open in January 1996.

"Those cars have good safety features," Pate laughed as he signed autographs with his repaired right hand 90 minutes after his sixth tour victory. "If I passed out it was only for a few seconds because I walked out of it."

Pate shot a 67 and picked up a $270,000 winner's cheque in the last PGA tournament at Pleasant Valley. The tournament sponsor rejected tour dates for next year offered by the PGA, so an LPGA event will be held instead.

Hoch, playing at Pleasant Valley for the first time since 1982, had a 65, and Hughes, who birdied the last four holes, shot 66. Nolan Henke (67), Mike Heinen (67) and third-round co-leader Willie Wood (70) were two strokes off the pace at 271 on the 7,110-yard course.

Pate, 37, broke his right hand and wrist in the accident and didn't return to the tour until early 1997. His hand finally felt strong in May or June and he finished the year with four Top 10 finishes in 28 events.

"Last year was basically like starting over," said Pate, who turned to acupuncture to ease the pain in his hand, although it still aches. "I really didn't have any idea if I'd be able to win again."

His best finish this year before Sunday was at the Phoenix Open, where he tied for second.

He won't be able to defend his title at Pleasant Valley.

"It's very disappointing. It's a really good course," said Pate, the 32nd different winner in the 32 PGA tournaments at the course.

Pate, once known for his hot temper, controlled it after he hooked his first three shots into the rough on the final hole, putting his two-stroke lead in jeopardy. He recovered by calmly knocking his fourth shot on the green, then two-putting from 20 feet and finishing with a tap-in.

Hoch, who finished more than an hour before Pate, had a chance for a birdie on the 18th but put his approach shot 15 feet past the cup and two-putted for par.

"I'm disappointed on the third shot," Hoch said. "The wedge game is my bread and butter and I expected to have that within five feet."

Wood, in the last twosome, could have forced a playoff with an eagle on the 18th, but finished with a par. He shared the third-round lead with Dave Stockton Jr., whose 71 Sunday left him at 272. Pate started the day a stroke back.

Until the 18th, Pate had rallied on the back nine with four birdies and four pars.

He trailed Henke, who was 14 under at the time, by one stroke after he birdied the 10th hole. And when Henke bogeyed the 14th, Pate's birdie at the 12th gave him a lead he never lost.

Hoch did tie Pate for the lead when he sank a birdie at the 17th, leaving both at 14 under. But consecutive birdies at the 371-yard 15th, which he bogeyed on Saturday, and the 200-yard 16th allowed Pate to play poorly on the 18th and still get his first win in six years.

"After today," he said, "I know I can win again."

Divots: Stockton's five-foot putt on the 18th hole was the last shot in Pleasant Valley's history as a PGA stop. ... Bruce Fleisher hit four balls in the water on the 180-yard, par 3 seventh hole and ended up with a 12. He finished the round with a 6-over 77 and the tournament at 3-over 287. ... There were 10 eagles in the third round, including eight on the 18th hole. The only eagle Sunday was by Steve Flesch on the fourth.


Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round