Allenby birdies way to Nissan Open win

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2001

LOS ANGELES -- No matter how many guys he has to beat, Robert Allenby is becoming the master of sudden-death playoffs.

In the largest playoff in PGA Tour history, the 29-year-old Australian laced a 3-wood through a cold, raw rain to 5 feet on the first extra hole and made the birdie putt Sunday to win the Nissan Open against five other players.

It was Allenby's third PGA Tour victory, all of them won in playoffs, none quite like this.

Six players finished at 8-under 276, some of them at least an hour before Davis Love III stumbled badly on the closing holes at Riviera Country Club, and before Allenby and Jeff Sluman each bogeyed the 18th to fall back into a share of the lead.

The playoff was the largest since six players went extra holes in the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic, but that tournament was only 36 holes because of rain.

Allenby, who closed with a 1-under 70, clinched his fist and gritted his teeth as the most important putt of the day disappeared into the cup at No. 18, the famed closing hole at Riviera that now has another piece of history. Bob Tway was the only other player to reach the 18th green in the playoff, but his 35-footer stopped a foot short.

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