Golf: One better leaves Faldo second best

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The Independent Online
Golf

Nick Faldo's round-by-round improvement saw him finish in joint second place in the PGA Tour's first event of the year, the Mercedes Championship in Carlsbad, California. He followed rounds of 70, 69 and 68 with a final- day 67 to finish three shots behind Mark O'Meara.

Faldo was delighted with his improving form. "I had a great week," he said. "I thought 67 on the last day would give Mark something to think about, but it didn't. He played great."

Faldo, paired with O'Meara for the final round, moved within two strokes of the lead with eight holes remaining. But he missed a four-foot birdie at the 11th moments after O'Meara had made a long birdie.

Faldo shared second place with Scott Hoch, who shot 66. Playing ahead of O'Meara, he got within one stroke with three holes left, but his chances faded with a bogey at the final hole.

Greg Norman went out in 29, equalling the tournament record. He made seven consecutive birdies but just missed an 18ft putt on the ninth to equal the PGA record of eight birdies in a row.

MERCEDES CHAMPIONSHIP (Carlsbad, Calif) Leading final scores (US unless stated): 271 M O'Meara 68 69 66 68. 274 S Hoch 69 69 70 66; N Faldo (GB) 70 69 68 67. 276 B Tway 71 69 70 66. 277 B Bryant 70 70 69 68. 278 D Love 72 71 67 68. 279 D Waldorf 71 70 69 69; L Janzen 71 65 72 71; C Pavin 67 71 70 71; J Gallagher 71 67 70 71. 280 B Crenshaw 69 71 69 71.

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