Davies and Daly win playoff

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The Independent Online

John Daly knew exactly what he was going to do with his first winner's check since the 1995 British Open.

John Daly knew exactly what he was going to do with his first winner's check since the 1995 British Open.

Daly, with daughter Shynah Hale beside him, was ready to spend it.

"I'm taking her right now and we're going to JC Penney's to do some Christmas shopping," he said on Sunday after he and partner Laura Davies rallied to win the JC Penney Classic in Palm Harbour, Florida, in a three-hole playoff with Paul Azinger and Se Ri Pak.

The two golfers teamed up for a 7-under-par 64 in modified alternate-stroke play to come from five shots behind and force a playoff.

For Daly, who has only four top 10 finishes since his British Open win and has not finished higher than a tie for 36th on the PGA Tour since March, it was the perfect way to bid farewell to a tournament that will be replaced next year at the Westin Innisbrook Resort with an official PGA Tour event scheduled in October.

"It's unbelievable," Daly said. "This being the last year of the JC Penney, to win with Laura to me is one of the greatest wins I could have. It was fun. We went out and whether we played good or bad, we were smiling and laughing. What a way to end this drought I've had for the last four years. Hopefully, I can build some confidence on it and go out next year and start playing a lot better golf than I have been."

The winners, who will share a $440,000 check, claimed the title when Davies rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17, the third playoff hole.

It was just a continuation of a putter-powered rally that overtook Azinger and Pak. Trailing by three shots with three holes to play, Daly dropped in a 35-foot birdie at 16, then moments later moved to within one shot when Azinger-Pak bogeyed the same hole.

Davies rolled in a 6-footer at 18 for birdie to move into a tie with Azinger and Pak at 24-under, then dropped an 8-footer for par on the second playoff hole to keep her team alive.

After Davies' 30-foot birdie on the third playoff hole, Pak's attempt to answer from 25 feet missed wide.

"It was one of the most enjoyable wins I've ever had," Davies said. "I mean, it's fun to win with someone else. To actually have somebody hitting the shots with you, to enjoy it with them. I was cheering his putts on as much as anytime I made a putt. It was just a lot of fun."

It was also important for Daly.

"It's a win," he said. "Anytime you win out here, whether it's a format like this or any tournament, the players are so good that a win's a win. And what a great one to have when you've got a great partner to do it with."

For Azinger and Pak, the loss was a stunning surprise. The two had not made a bogey in their first three rounds of play, then had two on the way to a final-round 69.

"I never thought we were not winning," Azinger said. "But they made two good shots coming in. They deserved to win."

In the history of the tournament, no team had ever begun the final round with a lead of three or more shots and failed to win.

"When you start the day with a four-shot lead, you want to win," Azinger said. "But we had two bogeys and that did us in.

"Give them credit. They put on a good charge. More power to them."

Mike Springer and Melissa McNamara shot a final-round 64, and Scott Gump and Maria Hjorth had a 67 to tie for third, two shots back at 22 under.

Final leading team scores from the $2 million JCPenney Classic, men played on the 7,054 yards, par-71 and women played on the, 6,330-yards, par-71 Westin Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course:

Daly and Davies 63-66-67-64-260 (won on third playoff hole) Azinger and Pak 65-64-62-69-260 Springer and McNamara 67-66-65-64-262 Gump and Hjorth 65-65-65-67-262 Hayes and Albers 67-67-63-66-263 Bryant and Figueras-Dotta 66-68-65-65-264 Sluman and Pepper 69-65-65-65-264 Lewis and McGill 65-70-64-66-265 Sabbatini and Hurst 65-66-66-64-266 Damron and Sorenstam 66-66-67-67-266 Funk and Barrett 68-66-65-67-266 Pate and Mallon 63-70-64-69-266 Forsman and Matthew 65-66-66-66-267 Brooks and Ward 68-67-62-66-267 Lowery and Johnson 68-69-63-67-267 Hulbert and Andrews 65-68-67-68-268 Uresti and Ammaccapane 67-67-65-69-268 Toledo and Doolan 66-68-63-71-268 Pernice and Estill 68-67-63-68-269 Lickliter and Stephenson 67-66-67-68-269 Hart and Coe-Jones 67-66-67-69-269 Pride and Spalding 67-66-67-67-269 Kendall and Rodman 67-67-66-67-269 Armour III and Figg-Currier 67-68-65-69-269 Scherrer and Mucha 68-65-67-67-269 Blake and Koch 68-65-67-66-269 Perry and Nilsmark 68-65-67-71-269 Leonard and Inkster 68-65-67-72-269