Flesch a first-time winner after playoff

Monday, May 5, 2003

NEW ORLEANS -- Steve Flesch made a 35-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to win the HP Classic of New Orleans for his first career victory.

Flesch, who began the day seven shots behind leader Scott Verplank, shot a final-round 65 to finish tied with Bob Estes at 21-under 267.

Verplank held a two-stroke lead with four holes to play, but bogeyed 16 and double-bogeyed 18 in a 2-over 74 and finished third at 19-under.

Flesch joined Mike Weir as the only left-handers to win on tour this year. Weir has won three times, including the Masters last month. Flesch is a six-year veteran who has three second-place finishes, including here in 1999.

Estes' chance to extend the playoff never threatened the cup and was wide left.

Bruno's Memorial Classic: Tom Jenkins shot a 5-under 67 to win by three strokes and give the Champions Tour 10 winners in as many events this year.

Jenkins finished at 16-under 200 for his fourth win in five years on the Champions Tour, while Bruce Fleisher was second after a closing 70 on the Greystone Golf and Country Club course.

Hale Irwin, who led after each of the first two rounds, had a 73 and finished tied for third with Jim Colbert, who had a 69.

Italian Open: Mathias Gronberg of Sweden shot a 7-under 65 and won by two strokes over three golfers, including Colin Montgomerie.

Montgomerie, who started the final round five strokes off the lead, closed with a 65 and was at 15-under 273 with Jose Manuel Lara (65) and Ricardo Gonzalez (70).

Gronberg had an eagle, six birdies and a bogey in the final round at Gardagolf Country Club for his fourth career European Tour victory.

Michelob Light Open: Grace Park made a double-breaking par putt of nearly 20 feet to cap a one-stroke victory in the inaugural event.

Park's par save on 18 gave her an even-par 71, a 9-under 275 total at the Kingsmill course and her fourth career win.

Cristie Kerr (71), Karrie Webb (67) and Lorena Ochoa (69) tied for second.

Meg Mallon was the last U.S. golfer to win a women's event, the Canadian Women's Open in mid-July.

-- From wire reports

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