Cadillac NFL Golf Classic
Cadillac NFL Golf Classic
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Doyle tops Inman in four-hole playoff

Bothered by back spasms and with every step and swing a source of pain, a four-hole playoff was the last thing Allen Doyle wanted today.

It's what he needed though to win the $1.1 million Cadillac NFL Golf Classic, beating Joe Inman with a par on the final playoff hole.

"This was unbelievable,'' Doyle said. "If someone had told me the way I felt the past three days that I would win, I would have said they were crazy."

The victory was the third of the year for Doyle, tying him with Bruce Fleisher for most on the Senior PGA Tour. The $165,000 first prize pushed his earnings to $1,036,364, making the 50-year-old the first player over the $1 million mark this year.

The check was made out in his name after he rolled in a 5-foot par putt on the par-3, 17th hole at the Upper Montclair Country Club.

The winning putt came after Inman lipped out an 8-foot par putt on the 215-yard hole. He had hit his tee shot into the left bunker.

"I really played well," said Inman, who forced the playoff with a final-round 6-under 66. "Allen just kept making those 5 and 6-foot putts. I have no regrets. I thought I hit that putt on 17 perfectly. I would hit it the same way if I could do it again."

Doyle, who had a 71 today, then gingerly bent over his putt and rammed it in the middle of the cup to end an agonizing five-hour round.

The putt capped a long week in which Doyle battled back spasms. He had had a dull pain in his back in finishing fourth in an event in Missouri last weekend, but the pain intensified here.

It bothered him for the final six holes Friday, 12 on Saturday and 22 today.

"He labored all day," said Lee Trevino, whose 10-under total gave him third place, two shots behind the leaders. "He didn't even get a chance to practice. He took four shots on the range and went for treatment. He didn't hit his shots as crisply, but he didn't complain. He just kept digging."

Inman and Doyle came within inches of winning and losing this tournament on the last hole of regulation and then again in the playoff. They both finished three rounds with 12-under 204 totals.

Inman made a great save on the 54th hole after hitting his second shot on the par-5 into a pond. His pitch from 40 yards landed 2 feet from the cup and he tapped in for par. Doyle's 12-foot birdie putt for the win went over the hole.

Doyle nearly lost the tournament on the first extra hole, hitting his drive on No. 18 under a tree. He pitched out and eventually saved par with about a 4-foot putt.

On the second playoff hole, the 17th, Doyle's 3-foot par putt did a 360 around the cup before falling.

Doyle had a chance to win on the third extra hole but his 15-footer at No. 18 slid past the cup.

Doyle had a four-shot lead after two rounds, the largest on the tour this year. His greatest adversary during that time was his back.

It was his biggest enemy today. On almost every hole, Doyle could be seen bending over and stretching from side to side in an attempt to loosen up his back.

"I was really concerned at the turn," said Erin Doyle, his daughter and caddie. "He was really hurting. At impact, he was just bracing himself."

But Doyle's trademark is his tenaciousness, his daughter said.

"He's the most competitive person I've ever seen in my life," she said.

Trevino, looking for his first win in 14 months, closed with a 69. Raymond Floyd, who had a 67, and Mike McCullough, who closed with a 69, were tied for fourth, another two shots back.

Inman started the final round five shots behind Doyle but he quickly got into contention playing the front nine in 6-under 30, making birdies on five of the last six holes.

When Inman rolled in a 10-footer on the par-4, 455-yard 9th, he momentarily took the lead at 12 under.

Doyle was about 170 yards from the green when Inman got that birdie. He then mustered his strength, hit an iron within 6 feet and rolled in the birdie to tie for the lead.

Doyle briefly took the lead again when Inman missed an 8-foot par putt on the par-4 12th. However, Inman came right back and made a 10-foot birdie on the next hole to get back into a tie.

Defending champion Bob Dickson, who won last year's event in a playoff, never challenged the final two days and finished at 1-over 217.