Norman fends off Hoch to claim top prize by one hole

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The Independent Online
Golf

The world No 1 Greg Norman held off America's Scott Hoch to win the final of the Andersen Consulting World Championship in Arizona by one hole. The Australian landed the tournament at the Grayhawk Club, Scottsdale, by sinking a 20ft birdie putt at the last.

"I had my chance on the last hole, but I didn't convert," Hoch said. "Greg had an opportunity and converted. That's what the great players do." Norman, who was delighted with his win, said: "I told myself to hit it solid. I read the green perfectly. I knew when I hit it, I'd made it."

Hoch never led in the 36-hole contest, but fought back from four down after 14 holes to level after 21. The players then halved eight successive holes with Hoch missing a short putt at the 29th which would have given him the lead for the first time. His disappointment was accentuated when he bogeyed the 30th to go one down.

Hoch drew level again at the 33rd when he sank an eight foot putt for a birdie. The players halved the next two holes and it seemed at the last that Hoch might snatch a win when Norman was bunkered off the tee, but Norman produced two good iron shots and then sunk a 20ft putt to secure victory.

Earlier Scotland's Sam Torrance was defeated two and one by Japan's Hisayuki Sasaki in the third place play-off. The Ryder Cup star showed his fighting spirit as he came back from three down to level with nine holes to play, but Sasaki regained the initiative by birdying three of the next four holes to establish a three-hole lead again with five to play.

Torrance threatened a second recovery when he birdied the 33rd to reduce Sasaki's lead to two. Both players scored pars at the 34th, before Torrance's 20ft birdie putt lipped the side of the hole at the next. Sasaki holed from six feet to secure his par three, which gave him the half and secured his victory.

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