<
>

Purdy wins on third playoff hole as darkness falls

4/23/2003

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. -- With darkness setting in, Ted
Purdy rolled in a short birdie putt on the third playoff hole to
defeat Chris Tidland on Sunday and win the $475,000 First Tee
Arkansas Classic, his first career win.

Purdy and Tidland tied at 13-under-par 275 at the end of
regulation after being forced to play 36 holes Sunday when rain
postponed most of Saturday's third round.

Purdy collected $85,500 for the win and moved to No. 4 on the
money list.

Purdy began the day tied for third at 8-under-par, some six
shots back of 36-hole leader Zach Johnson. Purdy posted scores of
68-71 to join Tidland, 68-68, in the playoff.

Vance Veazey, Tjaart Van der Walt and Johnson shared third place
at 12-under 276. Former Arkansas Razorback Mike Grob, Danny Ellis
and Bo Van Pelt were two shots back.

Among other Arkansans, former Razorback Craig Lile of Conway had
a 7-below 281, Bryce Molder of Conway and Ron Whittaker of Little
Rock each finished 5-below with 283.

''Everybody wants to end it in regulation. In days, anyway,''
said Purdy, who would have been forced to a Monday close had he not
rolled in his 2½ foot birdie putt. ''No, I've never had a longer
day. Eight to eight and we're still here but this is huge for me.
What a great way to spend Easter Sunday.''

When rain suspended play during Saturday's third round, only
five of the 61 players in the field had completed their rounds and
ten were still waiting to tee off. Officials resumed play Sunday
morning and didn't start the fourth round until the afternoon.

As the final round unfolded, no less than a dozen players had
chances to win or join the playoff.

Purdy needed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force the
playoff with Tidland, who had missed a 12-footer for birdie on his
closing hole some 30 minutes earlier that would have given him the
win outright.

A birdie on No. 15 pushed him to 13-under, but the former
Arizona Wildcat gave it back with a bogey on the next hole. Purdy
wedged his third shot to the 565-yard closing 18th to a distance he
was comfortable with.

''I made a 15-footer for par at nine, which was huge. I hadn't
been putting great prior to that and rolled my 45-footer well past
the hole. That one for par gave me the confidence to know I could
make them later on,'' he said. ''I had played so well all week, I
stood over that putt and made up my mind I was going to make it.''

In the playoff each player had a chance to win and let the other
off the hook. Playing only the uphill, 18th hole, Tidland missed a
12-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole that could have won it.
Purdy then missed a five-footer for birdie that could have ended on
the second attempt. Given the option of stopping or going on, the
two hurried back to the tee to try and beat the darkness.