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Imada outlasts Gow for BMW title

5/2/2004

TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (AP) -- Ryuji Imada won his second
Nationwide tour title Sunday, outlasting Paul Gow in a five-hole
playoff at the BMW Charity Pro-Am.

Imada missed a series of putts to win during the playoff before
sinking a 4-footer for victory. He shot a final-round 69 and could
have avoided a playoff, but missed a 7-footer on No. 18

"The miss on No. 18 was the easiest putt you could have,"
Imada said. "It was to win and I tensed up a little bit."

He tensed up again on each hole of the playoff until knocking in
the winning putt.

"It wasn't a surprise, but it was great to see that ball go in
the hole," said Imada, who won $108,000 to move to third on the
money list with $146,487.

Imada, a native of Japan, won the 2000 Virginia Beach Open. He
also helped Georgia win the 1999 NCAA championship, and was
considered a future regular on the PGA Tour after leaving Georgia.

"I think about it every day," he said of qualifying for the
PGA Tour. "It has been five years. But the five years on the
Nationwide Tour have made me a tougher golfer and a better
golfer."

Gow, of Australia, birdied the final two holes, with a 30-foot
putt at No. 18 putting him at 17-under 270. He then had to wait
nearly an hour as Imada finished in the rain.

Gow lost a three-hole playoff on the PGA Tour to Jeff Sluman at
the 2001 B.C. Open.

Third-round co-leader Kyle Thompson birdied the 16th and 17th to
get to 17 under, but he drove into the water on No. 18 and
double-bogeyed.

Bryant Odom, with a 67, Jason Gore (67), Shane Bertsch (68),
Rick Price (69) and Richie Coughlan (68) all missed the playoff by
one shot at The Cliffs.