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Garcia Wins South Africa Golf

December 2, 2001

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SUN CITY, South Africa (AP) _ Sergio Garcia made a 20-foot chip shot from the fringe on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Ernie Els and win the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Garcia forced the playoff by shooting a 9-under-par 63 after starting the day six stroke behind Els, the third-round leader.

``Every victory is great but with the field so strong, it was really good to win,″ Garcia said. ``I lost two playoffs this year, so I really needed to show myself I could win one.″

Garcia won a first prize of $2 million in the $4.06 million tournament, the richest in golf.

Els, a South African who has twice won this event, closed with a 69, joining the Spaniard at 20-under 268 for regulation.

Bernhard Langer of Germany was third in the 12-man event, finishing with a 69 for a 271 total. Mike Weir of Canada (68) was next at 272, followed by Lee Westwood of England (71) at 275.

A hailstorm interrupted play during the final few holes at Gary Player Country Club.

On the playoff hole, Garcia coaxed his ball out of the fringe and slid it from the left into the cup from 20 feet. Els still had a chance but his 15-foot putt went past the hole.

``The kikuyu grass here made it a tough shot,″ Garcia said. ``Even when the ball went in, I wasn’t sure of winning because Ernie still had a putt and he could have made it.″

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