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Spence Wins Australian Masters

February 14, 1999

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Australia’s Craig Spence birdied the final hole to break a deadlock with Greg Norman and win the Australian Masters on Sunday, his first pro title.

Spence, 24, who started the day two shots ahead of Norman, met his idol for the first time on the opening tee Sunday. He was given a hug by Norman at the end of the round and walked off the green in tears.

The two were even at 15-under going into the final hole when Spence drilled a 4-iron from 180 yards to 2 feet. Norman, a six-time winner of the tournament, sent his second shot to 35 feet from the pin and two-putted.

Spence holed his birdie putt to finish with a 3-under-par 70 for a 16-under 276 total.

``Well done, mate, you deserved it,″ Norman told Spence as he arrived to mark his card.

Spence said he battled to stay calm as he went head-to-head against Norman, who closed with a 69.

``It was such a grind to stay emotionally level,″ Spence said. ``What was keeping me strong was I’d done the hard work. I’d led all the way and I knew people would admire that, so I thought don’t worry about it.″

Norman was seeking his first tournament win over 72 holes since undergoing shoulder surgery in April.

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