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Johnstone Wins South African PGA

February 16, 1998

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Zimbabwe’s Tony Johnstone held off South African star Ernie Els today in the rain-delayed South African PGA, completing an even-par 72 for a two-stroke victory.

Johnstone, 41, who earned $104,412 for his first PGA European Tour victory in six years, had a 17-under 271 total on the Houghton course.

``Last year, I was seriously thinking of finding a new way of making a living because of my putting,″ Johnstone said. ``I tried a broom-handle putter, the Bernhard Langer grip, putting left-handed, but nothing worked. But suddenly it has all come right.″

Johnstone and Els resumed play today on the ninth hole after a series of storms over the weekend caused repeated delays, allowing only 36 of the 78 players to complete their final rounds Sunday.

Johnstone started play today with a three-stroke lead, but Els drew even at 16-under with two holes to play. Johnstone moved ahead with a birdie on No. 17, and finished with a par. Els bogeyed No. 18 for a 69.

``I’m cutting down on my schedule this year to about 24 events,″ Johnstone said. ``For years I have been playing 34-38 tournaments and turning into a cabbage. I’m being far more selective now, and only entering tournaments where I think I have a chance.″

Zimbabwe’s Nick Price, the 1997 winner, and South Africa’s Retief Goosen tied for third at 13-under 275. Price closed with a 68, and Goosen shot a 65. American Scott Dunlap (70) was another stroke back at 276.

Greg Norman withdrew Sunday night, with the South African Press Association reporting that the Australian star traveled to the United States for meetings with former President George Bush concerning the Presidents Cup matches. Norman was 6-under after three rounds.

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