Golf: Birdie victory for Daly: American holds his nerve to capture first title in two years

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The Independent Online
A BIRDIE from four feet on the final hole secured victory for John Daly in the BellSouth Classic at the Atlanta Country Club in Marietta, Georgia yesterday and marked his return as a power in the game.

It was a third Tour victory for Daly, who sprang to prominence by winning the US PGA in 1991, but it was his first success since the BC Open in 1992. His closing birdie gave him a final round of level-par 72 for an aggregate of 14-under-par 274 and a one-stroke victory over two fellow Americans, Nolan Henke and Brian Henninger, who sank an eight- foot eagle putt at the last.

Daly returned to the US PGA Tour in March following a three-month suspension for his conduct during a tournament in Hawaii and a stay in a treatment center for alcoholism. He went into the tournament without a practice round because he spent last Wednesday in a court in Orlando, Florida seeking access to his daughter.

Needing at least a birdie to win on the par-5, 499-yard finishing hole, Daly hit a 300-yard drive but then dumped his approach shot in a greenside bunker. He blasted out to four feet.

He headed the field for three rounds, but he bogeyed the 16th to lose the lead to David Peoples, who picked up a shot at the 14th. But Peoples ran into trouble, taking bogeys on the final two holes.

BELLSOUTH ATLANTA CLASSIC (Marietta, Georgia) Final scores (US unless stated): 274 J Daly 69 64 69 72. 275 B Henninger 68 67 69 71; N Henke 70 67 69 69. 276 D Peoples 73 65 68 70; B Estes 71 69 68 68. 277 L Clements 68 69 72 68; R Cochran 69 69 69 70; T Kite 66 72 68 71; B McCallister 69 68 69 71. 278 C Dennis 71 66 72 69.

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