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Darkness postpones Furyk, Hoch playoff

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2003

MIAMI -- Scott Hoch didn't want to let a chance to win disappear in the dark, so he decided to stop playing Sunday night during his playoff with Jim Furyk in the Ford Championship at Doral.

They will return at 8 a.m. Monday morning to finish, a decision that left fans booing and chanting when Hoch marked his 9-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole.

Furyk, who had a 6-foot birdie putt, had the option to putt but declined.

A routine duel between Ryder Cup partners took on a surreal finish in fading sunlight over the Blue Monster at Doral in the first playoff here in 12 years.

Furyk saved par from next to the bleachers on the final hole to shoot 68. One group later, Hoch also sailed the green and had to get up-and-down for par from next to the grandstand for his 69. They finished at 17-under 271.

Bob Tway, a co-leader going into the final round, was slowed by nine straight pars and wound up with a 71 to finish in third, two strokes out of the playoff.

Dubai Desert Classic

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods' withdrawal made it possible for Robert-Jan Derksen to even play in the Dubai Desert Classic. The real treat came when the unheralded Dutchman stole the show from Ernie Els.

Derksen, the first alternate until Woods decided to skip Dubai for safety reasons, hit a delicate pitch to 5 feet for birdie on the 18th hole for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory over Els.

He was in tears as he left the 18th green, even though Els still had a chance to catch him.

Derksen was not even ranked among the top 3,000 in the world going into the tournament. He never had finished in the top 10 at a European tour event, and only four months ago made it through qualifying school for the sixth time.

MasterCard Classic

MEXICO CITY -- David Eger birdied three of the last four holes to win the MasterCard Classic by a stroke for his first Champions Tour title.

Eger, seventh after Saturday, shot a 7-under 65 to finish at 12 under and take home the $300,000 first prize.

Defending champion Bruce Lietzke stayed with Eger until making bogey at the 15th hole and dropped into a four-way tie at 11 under with Hale Irwin, Eamonn Darcy and Tom Jenkins.

Clearwater Classic

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand -- American Ryan Palmer won in his second Nationwide Tour start, shooting a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory in the Clearwater Classic.

Palmer, who had a course-record 9-under 63 on Friday, finished with a 17-under 271 total on the Clearwater Resort course. The former Texas A&M player earned $110,520.

Australia's Andre Stolz closed with a 68 to finish second, American Kevin Johnson (67) was third at 12 under, and countryman David Branshaw (67) followed at 10 under.



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