Weir beats Howell III in playoff

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2003

LOS ANGELES -- Mike Weir staged another unlikely comeback Sunday, making up a seven-stroke deficit against Charles Howell III and winning the Nissan Open with a birdie on the second playoff hole.

Weir closed with a 5-under 66 on the tough Riviera Country Club, then waited nearly an hour as Howell played his final seven holes in 2 over. Both finished at 9-under 275.

The Canadian holed an 8-foot putt on No. 10, then claimed his second PGA Tour title in the last four weeks when Howell missed a birdie putt from 6 feet. Howell, who closed with a 73, failed to make a putt longer than 5 feet all afternoon.

Weir, winless on the PGA Tour a year ago, won for the second time in four starts and moved to the top of the money list with just over $2 million.

Nick Price had a share of the lead until bogeys on the 15th and 16th. He finished two strokes behind after a 72, tied with Fred Funk (68).

Tiger Woods had the best round of the day, a 6-under 65 that lifted him into a tie for fifth at 278. It was the eighth consecutive top-10 finish for Woods, dating to the British Open at Muirfield (tie for 28th).

Verizon Classic

LUTZ, Fla. -- Bruce Fleisher took advantage of a two-shot swing on the 17th hole and edged Hale Irwin for a one-shot victory.

Fleisher shot a 4-under-par 67 in the final round to finish at 8-under 205 at the TPC of Tampa Bay. Irwin, who began the day with a one-shot lead, shot 69 to finish at 7 under.

Irwin, who has 36 career wins as a senior, led by one shot when the final group went to the 213-yard par-3 17th. But he put his tee shot 20 feet right of the pin, and Fleisher followed by dropping his ball within 7 feet. Irwin then boomed his first putt 5 feet past the hole and missed the comebacker. Fleisher dropped his 7-footer for birdie and the lead.

Malaysian Open

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- India's Arjun Atwal shot a 5-under 66 for a four-stroke victory at the Malaysian Open.

The 30-year-old Atwal led from the first round and finished with a 24-under 260 total. South Africa's Retief Goosen closed within a stroke of the lead, but fired a 3-under 68 and finished tied for second with Australia's Brad Kennedy (64), at 20-under 264.

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