Golf: Price's precision clinches victory: Zimbabwean's tournament record total

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The Independent Online
NICK PRICE, the US PGA Champion, picked up another 10-year playing exemption, dollars 450,000 ( pounds 300,000), and a title he has said he wanted very much, as he shook off all challengers with a virtually error-free round at the Players Championship yesterday.

Price's record-breaking total of 18 under par, three shots better than the previous 72-hole mark, brought him his fourth win since he won the US PGA in August, and his 17th top 10 finish out of 23 starts since the US Open last June.

Price's margin of victory was a comfortable five shots over Bernhard Langer, who moved into solo second with a brilliant tee shot to five feet at the infamous island green 17th. Three players were tied for third at 12 under, Greg Norman, who finished with two bogeys after a late aggressive attempt at catching Price, Mark O'Meara, the only man to reach Price at any time yesterday, and Gil Morgan, who shot the round of the day with a 65.

O'Meara caught Price at 13 under after a birdie on the first hole, forcing Price to go back to the aggressive game that had first put him on top.

Morgan, whose most memorable for his performance at the US Open last year, finished with a birdie at the last, the most dificult hole on the course.

The field had been bunched at the top at the beginning of the day, with seven players within three shots. By the time they reached the turn only Price, O'Meara and Payne Stewart were under par for the day.

Norman dropped a shot at the first hole, making his first birdie on the seventh hole when he sank a 40-foot putt, but his challenge ended at the 17th where his ball landed in the water after an ambitious tee-shot rolled through the green.

Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki initially moved swiftly up the field, but after reaching 12 under he slipped back to finish at 10 under in a tie for fifth place, eight shots behind Price.

Ian Woosnam turned his game around on the back nine yesterday. After reaching the turn in 41, Woosnam had birdies at the 11th, 12th and 16th holes, and eventually returned a 76 for 286.

THE PLAYERS' CHAMPIONSHIP (Sawgrass, Ponte Vedre) Leading final scores: (US unless stated): 270 N Price (Zim) 64 68 71 67. 275 B Langer (Ger) 65 69 70 71. 276 G Norman (Aus) 66 70 68 72; G Morgan 68 71 72 65. 277 M O'Meara 67 71 66 73. 278 N Ozaki (Japan) 72 68 68 70; R Mediate 68 71 68 71; K Green 70 67 69 72; P Azinger 68 69 68 73. 279 T Watson 70 72 69 68. GB: 286 I Woosnam 71 70 69 76.