Thorpe birdies third playoff hole to edge Hatalsky

Updated: May 16, 2005, 10:35 AM ET
Associated Press

MILTON, Fla. -- Jim Thorpe sank a 4½-foot birdie putt Monday on the third playoff hole against Morris Hatalsky to win the Blue Angels Classic, his second straight Champions Tour victory.

Both golfers parred the first hole of a playoff Sunday night before play was suspended because of darkness. They parred the second playoff hole Monday, but Hatalsky opened the door for Thorpe's winning birdie by hitting his second shot into a bunker.

"When there's two warriors out there, one of us got to go down, and it was his turn to go this time," Thorpe said.

Thorpe, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Lakeway, Texas, took home $225,000 from the rain- and darkness-delayed tournament at the Moors Golf Club.

Thorpe gave his last check for $247,500 to his church, but plans on keeping this one.

"This check here, I think the wife might hold onto this for a little bit," Thorpe said.

He forced the playoff with a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation.

Thorpe closed Sunday with a 3-under 67 and Hatalsky had a 66 to complete 54 holes at 16-under 194. Two rain delays -- for a total of 4 hours, 18 minutes -- left time for only one extra hole in near darkness.

"I was playing really good, but I just didn't close the deal," Hatalsky said, blaming his putting.

He had a chance to win on the second playoff hole, No. 10, but his 12-foot birdie putt was just short.

Don Pooley (63), Fuzzy Zoeller (64), Peter Jacobsen (65) and Tom Jenkins (66) tied for third at 13 under. Craig Stadler, tied for ninth after matching the tour record with a second-round 60, shot a 70 to tie for ninth at 11 under.

The tour's single-round scoring record fell for the third straight day when the field averaged 68.051 Sunday. The 54-hole scoring average of 68.175 also was a record, breaking the mark of 69.442 set in the 1997 tournament.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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