'Pizza man' delivers his first PGA Tour win in sudden death

Monday, May 2, 2005

Draped in purple and gold Mardi Gras beads and clutching his silver trophy, Tim Petrovic was still in shock.

Twelve years after he went broke, gave up golf and went to work making and delivering pizzas, he had his first PGA Tour victory.

Petrovic completed the long journey by holing a 4-foot par putt to beat rookie James Driscoll on the first hole of a playoff in the Zurich Classic at Avondale, La.

"That last putt seemed to take about 12 minutes to fall in," Petrovic said. "I saw every dimple rolling over, and over, and over and then it went in."

The 38-year-old Petrovic set up the breakthrough victory with a 19-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation, then finished off Driscoll with a routine par on the par-5 closing hole on the year-old TPC of Louisiana.

"I was pretty calm over it," Petrovic said. "We looked at it real quick, but I didn't want to walk around it for about 5 minutes. I just wanted to get in there and hit it."

Petrovic, the former pizza and newspaper deliverer whose 2002 entry on the PGA Tour came 14 years after he turned pro, shot a 4-under 68 to match Driscoll at 13-under 275.

Driscoll, playing in the final group with Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco, had a 70, missing a 4-foot birdie try for the victory on No. 18.

"I can gain some confidence out of today for sure," he said. "It's kind of mixed emotions, because I know I can play. But to not finish it off just kills."

Back in 1993 the odds of Petrovic winning a PGA Tour title looked slim.

"I think I played 11 or 12 events and ran out of money on the Nike Tour," Petrovic said. "I had a sponsor pull out on me, I had no money, I ended up just going to work. I worked for the YMCA and then I went to work making pizzas for about five years. That's washing floors and washing dishes, that's not just making pizzas."

The former University of Hartford player was out of tour golf until 1998 when the father of some friends helped him get back.

DiMarco, the third-round leader, bogeyed No. 18 to finish a stroke back along with Lucas Glover. DiMarco, playing his first event since losing to Tiger Woods in a playoff at Augusta National, shot a 72. Glover had a 69.

DiMarco held the lead or part of it for most of the day.

DiMarco hole a 24-foot putt on the first hole for par and birdied Nos. 2, 5, 8 to make the turn at 15 under, two strokes ahead of Petrovic.

LPGA Tour

Stacy Prammanasudh won the Franklin American Mortgage Championship for her first LPGA Tour title, birdieing Nos. 16 and 17 to pull away from defending champion Lorena Ochoa en route to a three-stroke victory in Franklin, Tenn.

Prammanasudh, the first first-time winner on the tour this season, closed with a 3-under 69 for a 14-under 274 total. The former Tulsa star earned $150,000.

Ochoa finished with a 70. Cristie Kerr (68), Christina Kim (69) and Catriona Matthew (71) tied for third at 9 under.

The 25-year-old Prammanasudh, who had her father as her caddie, made a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 16 to move to 13 under. At the par-4 17th, she spun a wedge more than 20 feet back within 6 feet and made the putt to extend her lead to four strokes.

Champions Tour

Jim Thorpe won his 10th career Champions Tour title, birdieing four of the final five holes for a four-stroke victory over Dana Quigley in the FedEx Kinko's Classic at Lakeway, Texas.

The 56-year-old Thorpe, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, closed with a 4-under 68 for a 10-under 206 total. He earned $247,500. Quigley, part of a late four-way tie for the lead, finished with a 70.

Mark Johnson (70) and Wayne Levi (73) tied for third at 5 under.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange had his best showing in his first season on the Champions Tour, closing with a 71 to tie for fifth with Brad Bryant (72) and Bruce Fleisher (73) at 4 under.

European PGA Tour

South African star Ernie Els had an eight-stroke lead in the BMW Asian Open when the final round was suspended because of rain and darkness.

Els, seeking his third PGA European Tour title of the season, birdied three of the six holes he completed in the round to reach 22 under. He will resume play today in Shanghai, China, with a birdie putt on the seventh green.

England's Simon Wakefield was at 14 under with 12 holes left, and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn was another two strokes behind.

The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.

Nationwide Tour

Shane Bertsch overcame a 12-stroke deficit to win the BMW Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs, shooting a 7-under 65 to beat Bubba Watson and Charley Hoffman by a stroke in the rain-shortened tournament at Travelers Rest, S.C.

The 35-year-old Bertsch played the Cliffs Valley course after opening with rounds of 69 at Walnut Cove and 68 at Keowee Vineyards in the Pebble Beach-style event. He holed an 18-foot birdie putt on his final hole to finish at 12-under 202.

Bertsch earned $112,500 to jump from 16th to second on the money list with $158,819. He won the 2000 event, called the Upstate Classic and played at Verdae Greens, for his only other Nationwide Tour title.

Watson shot a 71 at Cliffs Valley, and Hoffman had a 68 at Walnut Cove. Mathew Goggin, the second-round leader, had a 76 at Walnut Cove to tie for ninth at 7 under.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: