Golf / US PGA: Price elevated to major league: Zimbabwean's triumph lays the bogy of second-best to rest

Click to follow
The Independent Online
NICK PRICE, of Zimbabwe, won the 74th US PGA Championship at Bellerive yesterday. It was his first major triumph and he became only the seventh non-American to lift the Wannamaker Trophy. The 35-year-old Price shot 70 in the final round and his aggregate of 278, six under par, left him three strokes clear of a group of four that included Nick Faldo.

'I've just got to go for it,' Faldo said before the final round. The world No 1 made an inspired start with birdies at the first two holes and came in with a 67 to stand at three under. 'I wanted to put a good number on the board to try and scare the other guys,' he said. He very nearly succeeded.

The Open champion - he was joint 13th in the Masters and fourth in the US Open - gained considerable consolation here. He got a three at the first by holing a putt from 18 feet and at the second he hit his approach shot to within a yard for another three. He had several more chances to the turn but failed to take them. Faldo went out in 34, two under for the day, one under for the championship. He gained another stroke at the short 13th, where he sank a putt from around 15 feet, and got to three under by holing a nine-foot birdie putt at the 17th, where he hit a three- wood about 250 yards. 'I think I needed to shoot 64,' Faldo said.

In winning the tournament, Price, who received dollars 280,000 ( pounds 148,000), laid a bogy to rest. He led the Open Championship at Royal Troon by three shots with six holes to play in 1982 and lost it to Tom Watson; he went into the final round of the Open at Royal Lytham with a two stroke lead in 1988 and lost it to Seve Ballesteros. Twelve months ago, Price withdrew from the US PGA Championship because his wife was pregnant and his withdrawal enabled John Daly to gain a place in the tournament. Daly went on to win the title and his caddie then, Jeff Medlen, worked this week for Price.

Gene Sauers, the overnight leader at seven under, extended his lead with a birdie at the fourth and promptly squandered it. Sauers, 29, from Savannah in Georgia, began to feel the pressure when he missed a three-foot putt for par at the fifth and he suffered a double blow at the sixth.

Sauers put his tee shot into a lake to the right of the green and ended up with a double bogey five. In the space of two holes, he went from eight under to five under and relinquished the lead to his playing partner, Jeff Maggert. Maggert, a Texan, set a course record of 65 in the third round, which put him two strokes behind Sauers. The 28- year-old Maggert, who is 100th in the world rankings, won his first professional tournament in St Louis four years ago.

Yesterday, he had a birdie at the second to move to six under and he remained on the mark to lead the field by a stroke. He improved on that by holing a putt from 14 feet for a birdie four at the eighth, but he ran into trouble after the turn. He dropped strokes at the 12th and 14th and surrendered with a seven at the 17th, where hit his approach into the lake.

Only six players were below par going into the final round and none had ever won a major. Price, who joined the US Tour in 1983, began with 10 successive pars and moved to six under with a birdie at the 11th. Although he dropped a shot at the 15th, he immediately recovered. John Cook, his partner, chipped in for a two at the 16th and Price followed him by rolling in a birdie putt from 18 feet. Cook, runner-up to Faldo in the Open, was joint second with the Englishman here.

Faldo's bubble finally burst over the back nine holes during the third round on Saturday. As the greens became harder, faster and more susceptible to spike marks, Faldo's putting betrayed him. He had a bogey five at the 10th, a bogey five at the 12th, a bogey five at the 14th, a bogey five at the 15th and finally another at the 18th. At least he was consistent. 'I just played badly. I lost it out there and I don't know why.' One reason, I suspect, is sheer fatigue. After the second round he looked shattered.

COMPLETE FINAL-ROUND SCORES FROM ST LOUIS

(US unless stated)

278

N Price (Zim) 70 70 68 70

281

N Faldo (GB) 68 70 76 67

J Gallagher Jnr 72 66 72 71

J Cook 71 72 67 71

G Sauers 67 69 70 75

282

J Maggert 71 72 65 74

283

D Forsman 70 73 70 70

R Cochran 69 69 76 69

284

A Forsbrand (Swe) 73 71 70 70

B Claar 67 73 73 70

D Waldorf 74 73 68 69

285

J Sluman 73 71 72 69

C Pavin 71 73 70 71

B Andrade 72 71 70 72

286

B Faxon 72 69 75 70

G Norman (Aus) 71 74 71 70

M Brooks 71 72 68 75

287

J Huston 73 75 71 68

R Fehr 74 73 71 69

S Elkington (Aus) 74 70 71 72

288

T Purtzer 72 72 74 70

L Janzen 74 71 72 71

B Britton 70 77 70 71

F Couples 69 73 73 73

G Morgan 71 69 73 75

T Kite 73 73 69 73

T Nakajima (Japan) 71 75 69 73

289

N Ozaki (Japan) 76 72 74 67

M Hulbert 74 74 70 71

T Wargo 72 72 73 72

P Jacobsen 73 71 72 73

L Nelson 72 68 75 74

290

B Fabel 72 76 74 68

D Love III 77 71 70 72

B Fleisher 70 72 75 73

F Nobilo (NZ) 69 74 74 73

C Montgomerie (GB) 72 76 69 73

D Pruitt 73 70 73 74

P Azinger 72 73 68 77

291

D Edwards 74 70 77 70

M James (GB) 75 72 72 72

B R Brown 72 75 72 72

L Mize 74 74 71 72

F Allem (SA) 74 72 72 73

B Langer (Ger) 72 74 72 73

L Wadkins 72 71 73 75

R Mediate 72 68 74 77

292

P Senior (Aus) 71 76 73 72

B Bryant 75 71 73 73

M Calcavecchia 74 69 74 75

V Singh (Fiji) 70 73 73 76

S Richardson (GB) 73 66 75 78

R Floyd 69 75 69 79

C Stadler 67 72 75 78

293

L Rinker 72 75 73 73

J Sindelar 72 75 75 71

K Clearwater 73 72 74 74

B Tway 74 73 72 74

S Pate 70 78 70 75

A Magee 74 71 74 74

G Hallberg 71 72 72 78

294

J Overton 73 73 76 72

B McCallister 73 75 76 70

J Haas 75 73 74 72

T Watson 72 71 73 78

295

J Kane 72 73 76 74

H Irwin 71 77 72 75

R Mackay (Aus) 76 72 71 76

296

P Stewart 76 69 79 72

D Peoples 75 73 74 74

T Schulz 75 71 74 76

I Baker-Finch (Aus) 71 75 78 72

298

B Lietzke 75 70 80 73

D Frost (SA) 72 76 77 73

B Crenshaw 75 71 78 74

300

J D Blake 68 77 79 76

S Veriato 70 73 77 80

B Estes 69 78 77 76

303

T Smith 75 73 79 76

R Gamez 69 75 82 77

S Gump 71 72 78 82

304

J Daly 76 72 79 77

305

H Perry 74 74 78 79

307

N Lancaster 75 72 79 81

K McDonald 78 69 78 82

Comments