Imada outlasts Gow for BMW title

Updated: May 2, 2004, 9:15 PM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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