Garcia ends drought with win at The Players Championship


Sergio Garcia, the best player without a major, got the next best thing.

Garcia ended the longest victory drought of his career by making a clutch par putt to force a playoff and hitting the island-green 17th on the first extra hole to defeat Paul Goydos in The Players Championship.

Haunted by putting problems that kept him without a victory the past three years and 53 PGA Tour events, Garcia came up with a 45-foot birdie on the 14th to get back in the game and a 7-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 1-under 71. Goydos, playing in the final group, missed a 15-foot par putt on the last hole for the win. He closed with a 74.

It was the first playoff at The Players since 1987, and the first time the PGA Tour opted to start it on the most notorious par — in golf. The shot was only 128 yards, but in wind that blasted 30 mph throughout the day, to a green surrounded by water.

What a bad coincidence for Goydos &

he was the first to hit into the water when the tournament began Thursday, and the last player to go into the water at the worst time.

Michelob Ultra Open

At Williamsburg, Va., Annika Sorenstam's comeback is real. And with her third victory in eight events this season, she also showed she can beat the new No. 1, Lorena Ochoa.

The eight-time player of the year pulled away from Ochoa on Saturday, using her typical steadiness for a 2-under 69, then did the same to Jeong Jang. A binge of four birdies in five holes on the back nine Sunday left no doubt the injuries that led to her winless 2007 are behind her, and that her once-unrivaled game is almost all the way back.

Sorenstam shot a closing 66 in the Michelob Ultra Open to shatter Karrie Webb's tournament record by five shots with a 265 total. Jang missed a short putt on the final hole for her first bogey in 35 holes and dropped into a tie for second.

Fort Smith Classic

At Fort Smith, Ark., Colt Knost won the Fort Smith Classic, shooting a 5-under 65 to edge Darron Stiles by a stroke.

Knost, the U.S. Amateur winner last year at Olympic, finished 12-under 268. Stiles, who won this Nationwide Tour event two years ago, shot a 71 and finished 11 under.

Matt Weibring, who led after the third round, shot a 75 to finish 8 under.

Italian Open

MILAN, Italy &

Hennie Otto won his first European Tour title by shooting a 3-under 69 to hold off Oliver Wilson by one stroke at the Italian Open.

The South African had four birdies and a bogey at Castello di Tolcinasco Golf and Country Club to finish at 25-under 263. Wilson, an Englishman, shot an 8-under 64, the best round of the day.

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