Golf: Price tops up his income: Zimbabwean holds off Parry's challenge for victory as Lyle has late charge

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NICK PRICE, the leading earner on the US money list last year, topped up his income when he won the Honda Classic at Weston Hills here yesterday. Price shot 66 in the final round and finished a stroke in front of the Australian Craig Parry. Price won dollars 198,000 ( pounds 136,000) and one of the sponsor's cars, not that he needs it.

The 37-year-old Zimbabwean, who lives in Orlando, Florida, began the day three strokes off the lead but immediately applied pressure with birdies at the first hole and the second. Price, who won the US PGA Championship in 1992, his only major title to date, hit the front with a birdie at the sixth and went to the turn in 32.

Parry, playing ahead of Price, made his move on the back nine with birdies at the 12th, 14th and 17th holes but there was no catching Price. His only dropped shot came at the 15th but by then he had established a cushion with birdies at the 12th and the 13th and at that point was eight under par. He hardly missed a fairway and hardly missed a green.

Brandel Chamblee, the overnight leader here at six under, finished at six under, bravely recovering from a double-bogey five at the short fifth. Chamblee finished third, two strokes ahead of John Daly, Bernhard Langer, Curtis Strange and Davis Love.

Nick Faldo had a 76, five over par for the round and the tournament. 'I played great, my putting screwed me completely,' he said before rushing for a plane and home. As summaries go it was as brief as it was inaccurate. Faldo came to Florida with the dismal record of played two, missed two cuts.

After rounds of 70 he was on the leaderboard until he had a double-bogey six at the 15th in the penultimate round. He hit his approach into the water but what happened to him on the 18th on Saturday evening was even more unnerving. He had a putt from no more than three feet for a birdie four and three putts later walked off with a six.

It is true that his putting was poor in yesterday's round but that is not the whole story. Faldo's double-bogey seven at the seventh came after he had driven into the lake. His triple- bogey seven at the 13th also came after he had driven into the water. It was not just his putter that screwed him.

The largest gallery, not surprisingly, followed Daly and Langer. They went out at one under and came back at four under. 'Overall I'm real pleased,' Daly said. He did not have a single bogey yesterday. 'I'm real proud of that. I don't think I'd done that for the first three years on tour. I felt I could have won the tournament.'

Sandy Lyle's post-Masters career has been one of great anti- climax, but he had a round yesterday that the leaders would have given their eye teeth for. Lyle shot 66 and accelerated through the field, moving from four over par to one under.

Lyle, who won at Augusta National in 1988, had six birdies in the final round. 'It was all very solid,' he said. 'I've not been scoring as well as I've been playing and the difference is that this time I didn't do anything silly.'

The length of some of his drives was in the Daly league and he capitalised with a better performance on the greens. In the first two rounds he had a total of 72 putts. Yesterday, he still did not have less than 30 putts, which indicates that from tee to green he was very much in control.

His solitary bogey came at the ninth and that mistake was induced by the fact that his ball was covered in mud. He went out in 33 and came back in 33 and at two of the par fives he had chances for eagles. His playing partner, Mark O'Meara, who also began the day at four over par, had a certain symmetry to his card, too. He went out in 41 and came back in 41.

O'Meara's game collapsed at the seventh, where he recorded a 10. First of all he drove into a lake and when he finally reached the green, he incurred a two- stroke penalty for hitting a moving ball. On the 12th hole, where Lyle was waiting to tap in a short putt for a birdie four, O'Meara took four putts from just four feet. The ball kept horseshoeing out and he kept missing it.

HONDA CLASSIC (Fort Lauderdale, Fla) Leading final scores (US unless stated): 276 N Price (Zim) 70 67 n73 66. 277 C Parry (Aus) 68 73 69 67. 278 B Chamblee 67 68 72 71. 280 J Daly 69 70 73 68; B Langer (Ger) 67 72 73 68; C Strange 71 67 72 70; D Love 68 71 70 71. 282 D Edwards 70 72 69 71. 283 S Lyle (GB) 71 74 72 66; T Kite 71 72 71 69; J Gallagher Jnr 68 71 74 70; H Sutton 71 72 70 70; B Fleisher 68 73 70 72. Selected: 289 N Faldo (GB) 70 70 73 76. 291 I Woosnam (GB) 72 71 72 76.