Romero claims Zurich Classic by one stroke

Monday, March 31, 2008

Argentina's Andres Romero won the Zurich Classic in his 12th career start on the PGA Tour, closing with a 4-under 68 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Australia's Peter Lonard.

Romero, a shot behind John Merrick on Sunday morning after the completion of the third round, had a 13-under 275 total on the TPC Louisiana in Avolndale, La., and earned $1,116,000.

Lonard had a chance to force a playoff, but missed a long birdie putt on 18.

Romero, who started with a 73 on Thursday, whittled away at the lead with a 69, then a 65 in the rain-delayed third round. In the final round, Romero offset a bogey on the sixth hole with five birdies.

The consolation for Lonard is that the runner-up finish should get him into the Masters by moving him from No. 72 to No. 50 in the world. The Zurich Classic was the final week to earn a spot at Augusta National through the world ranking.

Tim Wilkinson shot a 67 to finish third, two strokes back at 11 under.


Lorena Ochoa left her pursuers in the desert dust, successfully defending her Safeway International title with a dominating seven-stroke victory in Superstition Mountain, Ariz.

The 26-year-old sensation, with three big flags from her native Mexico waving in the crowd, shot a 6-under 66 to finish at 22-under 266. She won for the second time in three tries in the young LPGA Tour season.

Ochoa turned the tournament into a rout with birdies on the 13th, 14th and 15th holes, then punctuated her 19th career tour victory with a birdie tap-in on the 18th.

South Korea's Jee Young Lee, who began the day one shot back, shot an even-par 72 to finish at 15 under. Minea Blomqvist of Finland (66) was third at 14 under.

Champions Tour

Bernhard Langer won the Ginn Championship for his second Champions Tour victory in three starts, shooting a 1-under 71 in windy conditions for an eight-stroke victory over Lonnie Nielsen and Tim Simpson in Palm Coast, Fla.

Langer had one of three under-par rounds, with the wind off the Atlantic Ocean a sustained 25 mph and the temperature in 50s.

-- The Associated Press

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