Cink leads wire-to-wire to win NEC Invitational

Monday, August 23, 2004

AKRON, Ohio -- Stewart Cink closed with an even-par 70 to beat Tiger Woods and Rory Sabbatini by four strokes Sunday at the NEC Invitational, becoming the first wire-to-wire winner on the PGA Tour this year.

Cink made a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish at 11-under 269 . He earned $1.2 million, the largest payoff of his career.

Sabbatini make a 20-foot birdie on the 14th hole to trail by two shots, but bogeyed two of the next three holes for a 68.

Woods finished with a rare birdie for a 69, and continued his streak of never finishing worse than fifth at Firestone. He also will keep his No. 1 ranking for another week -- 263 weeks in a row -- after Vijay Singh shot a 70 to tie for 32nd and Ernie Els both closed with a 72 and tied for 65th.

Last Monday, Cink was the captain's pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

LPGA Tour

Catriona Matthew's par putt on the first playoff hole was enough to beat defending champion Hee-Won Han and win the Wendy's Championship for Children in Dublin, Ohio.

Matthew shot a 4-under 68 for a 10-under 278 total for her second career LPGA title, and first since 2001.

Han, who beat Wendy Ward in a 3-hole playoff in 2003, pulled her 5-foot putt left of the hole. She led by as many as three shots and closed with a 72.

Lorena Ochoa had the day's low round (67), leaving her alone in third place at 279. Patricia Meunier-Lebouc (68) and Nancy Scranton (70) finished three shots back.

Amateur Michelle Wie shot 69 to tie for sixth place at 6 under. Joining Wie were U.S. Open champion Meg Mallon (70), Marilyn Lovander (72) and 2002 Wendy's winner Mi Hyun Kim (72).

Reno-Tahoe

Rookie Vaughn Taylor claimed his first PGA Tour victory, rolling in an 11-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to win a four-way playoff at the Reno-Tahoe Open.

Taylor made a 14-foot birdie putt on the last hole of regulation for a 3-over 75 and tied hometown favorite Scott McCarron (71), rookie Hunter Mahan (74) and Australia's Steve Allan (74) at 10-under 278.

In the playoff, McCarron missed a 14-foot birdie putt and Mahan failed to convert from 16 feet. Allan's approach to the 429-yard, par-4 18th came up short.

Taylor had two double-bogeys and two bogeys in windy conditions at Montreux Golf and Country Club. Only 11 players broke par in the final round as winds gusted up to 45 mph.

Allan was at 12 under and had a two-stroke lead over McCarron and Mahan heading to the final hole. But his third shot, from a greenside bunker, flew 10 yards over the green. He missed a 4-foot putt for bogey and settled for double-bogey.

U.S. Amateur

Ryan Moore won the last four holes to beat Luke List 2-up in the 36-hole final at the U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

Moore birdied Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to win his fourth prestigious amateur event of the year. The UNLV senior also won the NCAA Division I, Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links.

He becomes the fourth golfer to win two USGA championships in the same year, joining Bob Jones and Chick Evans (U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open), Jay Sigel (U.S. Amateur, U.S. Mid-Amateur) and Pearl Sinn (U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, U.S. Women's Amateur).

List, a 19-year old sophomore at Vanderbilt, was 2-up after making a 3-foot birdie putt at the par-3 13th.

Moore made his move on the 15th, making birdie while List, of Ringgold, Ga., bogeyed the 16th and 17th. Moore closed out the match with a 10-foot birdie putt at 17 and a 6-footer at 18.

-- From wire reports

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