Sindelar ends his 14-year drought with Wachovia title

Monday, May 10, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Joey Sindelar had a hunch someone would come out of the pack to win the Wachovia Championship on Sunday. He just didn't think it would be him.

Sindelar was 14 years and 370 tournaments removed from his last PGA Tour victory. He had spent the last five years struggling to keep his card. Worse yet, he was three shots behind with three holes to play at Quail Hollow.

"My caddie, John (Buchna), told me I would need a couple of birdies and a possible accident to win," Sindelar said.

He got his two birdies, including a 4-iron into 3 feet on No. 17, the toughest hole on the course.

Arron Oberholser delivered the wreck.

And after two playoff holes, the 46-year-old Sindelar was posing with the trophy and pinching himself.

"It will take me a while to understand this is real," he said.

Sindelar birdied three of his last four holes, waited for Oberholser to wilt, then polished him off with a par in the playoff for his seventh career victory, and his first since the 1990 Hardee's Classic.

How long ago was that?

Tiger Woods had just won his first U.S. Junior Amateur title. Sindelar's first child was still in diapers.

"They think those trophies in my case are replicas, that I picked them up at a local sporting goods store," Sindelar said of his two sons. "Now, we've got a real one to show them."

Sindelar earned $1.08 million, more than he ever made in any of his previous 20 years on the PGA Tour.

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