After collecting his third career win of his PGA Tour and his first victory since 2000, Steve Lowery left little doubt which title was the most meaningful for him.
Trailing by three strokes with four holes to play, Lowery wound up being the most unlikely of champions Sunday in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He closed with a 2-under-par 70 to reach 10-under for the tournament and then birdied the first playoff hole to defeat Vijay Singh.
Not only did Lowery have an uphill climb just to get into the playoff, but once he did, the odds appeared to be stacked against him, especially competing against a man with more than 30 career victories. Never mind the fact that the 47-year-old Lowery was ranked No. 305 in the world and was playing on a minor medical extension after an early season wrist injury greatly limited his
"What I've been through with the injury and (I) had some play that was not as good — some times that I didn't play very well," Lowery told reporters after securing the win that gave him $1.08 million in prize money, a two-year exemption on Tour and a trip to the Masters. "This is absolutely the most meaningful."
Interestingly, all three of Lowery's PGA Tour wins have come in playoffs. The first was in the 1994 International against Rick Fehr and the second came against Skip Kendall in the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
On Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Lowery made his move on the front nine, collecting birdies at No. 1, No. 4 and Nos.7-9. He later suffered bogeys on holes 11 and 14, but was able to recover with a birdie at No. 17.
After Singh bounced back from a horrendous string of three consecutive birdies on Nos. 14-16, he rose up to birdie No. 18 and force a playoff — a position that had served him well in his first two playoffs on Tour, both resulting in victories.
Even playing against a big name by Singh, Lowery took an aggressive approach in the playoff.
"I couldn't have given it any more in 18 holes," Lowery said. "I'd been focusing all week. I just kind of told my caddie, I've got nothing to lose and just go out and play aggressive.
"I guess if anything, it kind of freed me up a little bit. I just felt like I didn't have anything to lose."
Singh, who struggled to make five on the par-5 18th hole, twice found sand bunkers in the playoff.
"I'm very disappointed," Singh told reporters after dropping to 7-3 in career playoffs. "I let this one slip away. I didn't think I was going to lose this. I need to go re-think and see what really went wrong
"I played well, I played well down the stretch, but on the middle of the back nine I let some go away."
Lowery and Singh both finished the tournament at 10-under 278. Dudley Hart, John Mallinger and Corey Pavin all finished tied for third at 9-under 279, while Jason Day was alone in sixth place at 8-under 280.
Fredrik Jacobson teamed with Bill Walters to win the pro-am by a record 10 strokes. The two combined to shoot 38-under-par 250.
Lowery said he figured Singh would be his saltiest playoff opponent yet.
"You know what you've got, so are you going to be able to match it and are you going to be able to stand up and play this hole because you know he's going to," Lowery said. "I think that's the mindset that I had, that it's not a matter of him giving it to you, it's a matter of are you going to go out there and win it."
It was Lowery who found himself in excellent position on No. 18 in the playoff, however. He finished off his victory with a seven-foot birdie putt.
"You have to play the hole, like I said, courageously," Lowery said. "Try to play for birdie; it's a par 5. You've got to play it the way you would play it if you went out there 10 times.
"I played solid all day, so I'm very proud of the way I won it."
February 11, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
... full article »