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Bob Murphy wins on record ninth playoff hole

March 17, 1997

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Bob Murphy never lost his patience, and he needed every ounce of it to win a record nine-hole playoff at the Toshiba Senior Classic.

With darkness closing in, Murphy rolled in an 80-foot birdie putt to beat Jay Sigel on Sunday in the longest day ever on the Senior PGA Tour.

``I felt if I was going to miss it I wanted to miss it below the hole, but when it kept tracking towards the hole I said, `Son of a gun, this might go in,‴ Murphy said.

Sigel, who trailed Murphy by six shots early in regulation, birdied four of the final six holes to catch Murphy and force extra play.

Sigel had a chance to tie Murphy on the ninth playoff hole, but his 25-foot birdie putt fell off to the right.

``If I’d have just hit that putt a little harder I might have made that putt,″ Sigel said. ``Murph made three key putts and any time you make three key putts in a playoff you should win.″

Murphy and Sigel ended regulation play tied at 6-under par 217. Murphy had three birdies and Sigel had two birdies in the playoff.

Their playoff set a Senior Tour record, surpassing the eight-hole playoff won by Orville Moody against Bob Betley in the 1992 Showdown Classic in Utah.

``I wasn’t weary at all,″ Murphy said. ``The adrenalin was flowing. But in about an hour I’ll really be tired.″

Murphy, 54, won his 11th Senior tournament in five years on the Tour. He took home $150,000.

``I had a real up and down day,″ he said. ``It was very hard to score out there today as you can tell by the scores. It was a day for a tremendous amount of patience.″

Murphy sank a 7-footer on the first playoff hole and then watched Sigel tie the hole with an 18-inch birdie putt. Each player recorded pars at the 16th, 17th and 18th holes before heading back to the 16th hole for the fifth hole in the playoff.

Murphy saved par at the 16th with a 3-foot putt after hitting his tee shot and then his approach shot into the right rough. Both golfers recorded pars at the 17th, the sixth playoff hole, and headed for the 18th hole for the fourth time in Sunday’s round.

Murphy sank a dramatic 15-foot putt from the apron to record a birdie at the 18th to tie Sigel.

``That was a putt I couldn’t back off of,″ Murphy said. ``In a way that made it a little easier.″

Sigel had chipped within a foot and halved the hole with Murphy by sinking his putt.

Murphy bogeyed the 17th hole and then missed a 7-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have won him the tournament in regulation.

Isao Aoki’s final round 69 and Gil Morgan’s 70 moved the duo into a tie with Bob Charles for third place at 5-under par.

Charles started the day at 6-under par, just two shots off the lead. He missed a 12-foot birdie putt at the par-5, 510-yard 18th hole that would have put him into the playoff.

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