Garcia weathers a three-person playoff to win the Byron Nelson

Monday, May 17, 2004

IRVING, Texas -- Sergio Garcia retooled his swing so it would hold up under the intense pressure of the final round. On Sunday, he only had to let the other guys fall apart at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Garcia made enough clutch pars to get into a playoff, then won for the first time in two years on the PGA Tour by tapping in for par on the first extra hole as Dudley Hart and Robert Damron self-destructed.

"Winning is always great," Garcia said. "Those are the little things that get you going a little bit."

Garcia closed with a 1-over 71, the first Byron Nelson winner in 11 years to fail to break par in the final round. He never would have guessed he could shoot that score and still win, or that a simple par would be enough in the playoff.

"I pulled it through, and I'm happy," Garcia said.

Hart, who birdied three of the last five holes to close with a 67 and get into the playoff, missed the fairway on the 18th and hit into a terrible lie right of the green. He duffed a chip and wound up with double bogey.

Damron holed a 7-iron from the 15th fairway for eagle and shot 66 to get into a playoff, just like he did three years ago when he won the Nelson on the fourth extra hole. Damron lagged his 50-foot putt to 4 feet, stepped up to it quickly and pulled it left.

Damron had a similar putt on the 18th in regulation, so he knew the line.

"There was no point in reading it," he said. "I knew what it was doing. I just butchered it."

All three finished at 10-under 270.

Tiger Woods tried to make a late charge despite hitting only three fairways Sunday. He shot 69 to finish one shot out of the playoff for the second straight week.


FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Lorena Ochoa won her first pro event, carding a 4-under-par 68 for a one-stroke victory over Wendy Ward at the inaugural Franklin American Mortgage Championship.

The 2003 rookie of the year had come so close to winning, with three seconds and three thirds in her short career. Ward closed with a 5-under 67 for a 273 total, while Stacy Prammanasudh (67) finished third.-under 272.

-- From wire reports

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