Golf: Faldo's extra dimension denies Norman

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Nick Faldo withstood a barrage of birdies by Greg Norman yesterday to win the Johnnie Walker World Championship at Montego Bay in Jamaica after a sudden-death play-off. Faldo had birdied the final hole to tie with the Australian.

Faldo, who holed a putt from 15 feet for a birdie on the 18th to force the play-off, needed only to par the same hole in the play-off to collect the dollars 550,000 ( pounds 366,000) first prize.

Norman, who has experienced many such last-minute heartbreaks in his career, bogeyed the extra hole when he hit his approach shot into deep grass just off the green and failed to get down in two shots.

The Australian could have collected the trophy himself, but he missed a four-foot birdie putt on the final green after Faldo had holed out.

Trailing by five strokes at the start of the day, Norman pursued his front-running British rival until he finally overtook him with a birdie at the 14th, where Faldo made his only mistake of the day. Faldo bogeyed the 545-yard hole when he drove his ball into palm trees on the right and had to take an unplayable lie.

Norman finished with a record 63 over a very tough course for a total of 274, six under par for the championship, while Faldo closed with a 68.

Norman began to cut into Faldo's lead with consecutive birdies on the third and fourth. Then, after the pair shared birdies on the seventh, Norman fulfilled his prediction by making the turn in three under - three behind Faldo. He then birdied the 11th, 13th and 14th to pass Faldo, who made his only bogey of the day at 14.

'Thank God I had a five-stroke lead,' Faldo said. 'I wanted to end the season like this - on a great note.' Norman, pleased with his return to form, said: 'I've got a lot of desire to do well in golf again and this will help me.'

Davis Love, meanwhile, returned 66, but it was only good for 283 and a third-place tie with his fellow-American Tom Kite, who had a 70.

Ian Woosnam, who made three consecutive birdies early on, closed with a 68 to finish alone at 284. As for Mark Roe, another of the British contingent, he started with an eagle at the 470-yard first to finish next on 285 after matching par with a 70.

Fred Couples, the defending champion, was unable to fully recover from an opening round of 77 and he had a 73 for 287. Couples and Kite, his playing partner, were away to poor starts. Couples took a double bogey at the first, while the US Open champion made seven.

JOHNNIE WALKER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Montego Bay, Jam): Final scores: 274 N Faldo (GB) 71 70 65 68; G Norman (Aus) 71 71 69 63 (Faldo won at first extra hole).

283 T Kite (US) 73 69 71 70; D Love (US) 72 75 70 66. 284 I Woosnam (GB) 73 71 72 68. 285 M Roe (GB) 71 72 72 70. 287 F Couples (US) 77 69 68 73. 288 D Edwards (US) 73 73 72 70; R Floyd (US) 73 71 74 70; T Johnstone (Zim) 75 73 73 67. 289 P Azinger (US) 75 76 71 67. 291 C Montgomerie (GB) 74 76 71 70. 292 C Parry (Aus) 68 77 73 74; S Lyle (GB) 76 71 75 70. 295 C O'Connor Jnr (GB) 79 72 69 75. 296 P O'Malley (Aus) 71 73 75 77; R Allenby (Aus) 80 73 72 71; B Langer (Ger) 77 76 72 71; S Elkington (Aus) 80 75 73 68. 298 M O'Meara (US) 75 76 72 75. 299 C Pavin (US) 77 73 76 73. 300 I Palmer (SA) 75 75 78 72. 301 D Frost (SA) 83 67 74 77; B Lane (GB) 76 77 74 74; B Faxon (US) 82 75 70 74; J Sluman (US) 81 76 72 72. 304 A Forsbrand (Swe) 75 76 72 81. 306 S Ballesteros (Sp) 76 82 73 75.

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