By John Manley
Padraig Harrington began the final round of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro 500 Years Open at Itanhanga with a two-stroke lead, bolstered largely by the 62 he shot in Friday’s second round. Six runner-up finishes over the last year
had whetted Harrington’s appetite for a victory, but England’s Roger Chapman served him some humble pie, snatching victory on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Harrington’s final-round 70 wasn’t enough to thwart Chapman’s closing bid, which was punctuated by a seven-under-par 65, and they both finished at 270.
Chapman found water on the first extra hole and took a bogey but was kept alive by Harrington’s three-putting adventure. Harrington put his ball in the drink on the next hole, taking a bogey, but Chapman needed one less stroke and claimed his first victory after 19 years on the European Tour.
Philip Walton finished in a tie for 40th place, but that’s a huge step up for the former Ryder Cupper, who has been hard pressed to make a cut over the last two years. Walton had only one round over par en route to a final score of 283 (69-72-76-66). Only Chapman bested that final round score.
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Christy O’Connor Jr. is still looking for a breakthrough performance in 2000, but it was not to be found in the Emerald Coast Classic at The Moors Golf Club in Milton, Fla. O’Connor finished in 56th place, shooting a five-over-par 215 (71-75-69) for 54 holes. Gil Morgan was the winner at 197.
Rain delayed the completion of Sunday’s final round of The Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida until Monday, but Darren Clarke was long gone by then. He missed the cut by one stroke. After a first-round 72, Clarke struggled to a 79 on Friday, and an early exit beckoned.