Utah Showdown
Utah Showdown
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Eichelberger beats Quigley in playoff

Dave Eichelberger says he's not a household name. Maybe he hasn't picked up a newspaper in the last month.

Eichelberger parred the first playoff hole today and won the Novell Utah Showdown when Dana Quigley's 3-foot putt clipped the cup and rolled past.

The victory was worth $202,500 to Eichelberger, who three weeks ago won the U.S. Senior Open and had a three-stroke lead entering today's final round.

If fans haven't heard too much about him, it should come as no surprise. After winning today, Eichelberger insisted it has always served him well to maintain a low profile.

"I don't mind being unheralded," he said. "Too much stuff goes with this heralding business. I sort of quietly go in and out."

Quigley had nine birdies, including seven as he shot 29 on the back nine for his final-round 64 at the 54-hole tournament. He made a nice recovery from the sand on the extra hole, but then hit his par-matching putt too hard.

"I made a good bunker shot, then I hit a right-to-left putt," Quigley said. "I thought I hit it well. I also thought it was going to break more."

Hale Irwin, who shot a final-round 67, and David Graham, who had the day's low round at 63, tied for third at 199. Defending champion Gil Morgan was another stroke back at 16-under, followed by Graham Marsh and Simon Hobday at 15-under.

Playing at the Park Meadows Country Club in this scenic mountain valley, Quigley shot a 18-under 126 over the last two days, tying a Senior PGA Tour record for the final 36 holes. Irwin shot a 126 in the Vantage Championship in 1997.

It would have been nice for Quigley to take home the victory, too, but he said afterward he was happy with second place.

"It's no big deal. I've got another tournament next week," he said.

In the playoff, Eichelberger missed a 20-foot birdie from the fringe before tapping in. Quigley's second shot sailed into the sand, but he blasted out and rolled it across the green.

Even Eichelberger expected there would be another playoff hole.

"I was thinking, 'He's probably going to get up and down. I need to make my putt,' " Eichelberger said.

About 30 minutes earlier, Quigley sank a 12-foot downhill putt on the 18th to reach 19-under 197. A playoff was assured when Eichelberger missed a 12-foot birdie try on his final hole of regulation.

Eichelberger, playing in the final group with Irwin and John Mahaffey, had held a two-stroke lead after the 14th hole. But he and Irwin both stumbled with double bogeys at the par-5 15th, each hitting into water hazards.

"I was just trying to hang in there," Eichelberger said. "I knew I had a two-stroke cushion going into the hole. To be honest, I was worried about Hale because that's who I was playing with."

Eichelberger lost two strokes to par to fall to 17-under before recovering with birdies at No. 16 and No. 17.

"The birdie at 16 was huge," he said. "It got me thinking like I was going to win, rather than I was going to lose. I was happy to get it in."

On 17, Eichelberger pitched his third shot over a rise, rolling the ball to about a foot from the flag. He tapped in for birdie to go back to 19-under.

Irwin lost his bid for a third straight Senior Tour victory, but passed Bruce Fleisher for first place on this year's money list. Fleisher sat out this week's event and remains at $1,488,400, while Irwin's paycheck of $89,100 put him at $1,567,255 for the season.

AP


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