Sammy Rachels Wins Bruno's Classic
May. 05, 2002
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HOOVER, Ala. (AP) _ Sammy Rachels made a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Dana Quigley to win the Bruno's Memorial Classic on Sunday.
Rachels, who closed with a 5-under 67 to match Quigley at 15-under 201, earned $210,000 for his first victory of the season and third on the Senior PGA Tour.
Rachels holed the winning putt on the 17th hole after Quigley missed an 18-footer and tapped in for par. Both players birdied the 18th hole to begin the playoff.
Rachels raised his hands in the air an instant before his winning putt went in the hole. He pumped his right fist once as fans yelled ``You da man, Sammy!''
``It probably won't get any better than this,'' Rachels said.
He went from spectacular to rock-solid, following a scorching second-round 64 with three straight birdies as the sun finally came out in a tournament delayed three times by rain.
Rachels parred the final eight holes, forcing the challengers to play catch-up, including more high-profile playing partners Larry Nelson and Hale Irwin.
The paycheck nearly matched Rachels' earnings in 123 events on the PGA Tour ($226,796). He hadn't finished in the top 20 in his last five tournaments.
Quigley caught the Floridian with a birdie on the 17th in regulation, hitting it in from nearly the spot where Rachels would clinch the title minutes later.
Quigley had set a senior record with his 178th consecutive start.
Nelson, the second-round leader, finished one stroke back with a final-day 70. A birdie on the 17th or 18th could have put him in the playoff, but settled for pars.
``I made some good shots coming in and just ran out of holes,'' Nelson said.
Irwin failed to become the first repeat winner in the tournament's 11-year history. His final-day 70 placed him two strokes back, thanks largely to a double bogey on the par-4 12th.
Rachels birdied the first three holes, rapidly erasing a two-stroke deficit to Nelson and taking the lead and didn't trail again.
Quigley, who started the day three strokes off the lead, had an eagle on the par-5 second hole.
Divots: Chi Chi Rodriguez sank about a 100-yarder for eagle on the 18th hole. He celebrated with his trademark swordsman dance and earned a huge ovation from the gallery. He shot a 67 to tie for 29th at 5-under 211 ... Irwin ran into trouble a couple of times on the back nine. First, he four-putted from about 20 feet on the 12th for double bogey. On 14, his ball hit the back of the cup, bounced out and rolled into the rough. Irwin drilled that shot for birdie, stabbing his index finger toward the hole in celebration.