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Dottie Pepper Wins Par 3 Challenge

November 8, 2000

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) _ Dottie Pepper won the Par 3 Challenge on Tuesday, shooting a 3-under-par 51 for a two-stroke victory over PGA Tour star Fred Couples.

Ben Crenshaw was third at 54, followed by Nancy Lopez, Lee Trevino and Craig Stadler at 55, Gary Nicklaus and Gary McCord at 57, and Grace Park at 58.

The one-day tournament was played over the 2,826-yard Aviara Resort course, with the holes ranging in distance from 115 yards to 191 yards. It featured three groups of four players _ one member of each professional tour and a celebrity guest.

The event had a $1 million prize for a hole-in-one, and actor James Garner barely missed acing two holes. His 6-iron shot on the 17th stopped 4 inches from the cup, and his 5-iron shot on the fifth spun back and just missed the hole.

``I just didn’t hit it hard enough″ Garner said of his shot on the 17th. ``I hit it short, and it rolled up within 4 inches. Do you realize that I could have given a million dollars to charity with one swing?″

Garner wound up with a 10-over 64. The other celebrities were pitcher Roger Clemens, who shot a 68, and soccer player Mia Hamm, who had a 72.

Pepper was the only player to have a bogey-free round.

``Obviously we are very competitive,″ she said in reference to the LPGA participants. ``I think the quality of play on our tour gets overlooked a little bit.″

Pepper earned $130,000 from the $580,000 event sponsored by Sun Microsystems. Crenshaw made $70,000 for finishing second.

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