Mark O'Meara should have known it was coming. He said so.
He all but predicted it Saturday when he took the 72-hole lead in the Bob Hope Classic.Corey Pavin "is playing very well again. He's awfully good around the greens. And he's a fierce little competitor," O'Meara said in assessing his potential challengers for the final round of the five-day, 90-hole, four-course tournament.
All those elements came together Sunday, culminating in Pavin's 40-45 foot chip-in birdie on the first hole of a sudden death playoff.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," O'Meara said with a pained smile. "He's done that to me before, ever since college."
This time, the dramatic shot capped a record-breaking scoring binge in the desert, snapped a two-year non-winning string for Pavin and extended through two weeks O'Meara's exercise in frustration.
"It's been a tough two years," said Pavin, who won seven titles in his first five seasons on the PGA Tour, then went through 27 months before this victory.
He had to break a tour scoring record - and then win a playoff - to do it. The old record for 90 holes was 333, 27 under par, set by Lanny Wadkins and Craig Stadler in this tournament in 1985.
Both Pavin and O'Meara broke that mark by two shots at 331. Pavin played the final round at Indian Wells in 65 and O'Meara shot 67.
After matching birdie putts of about four feet on the final hole of regulation play, they went to a sudden death playoff on the par-4 17th. Pavin drove under some overhanging trees and left his second shot tangled up in rough well short of the green. O'Meara was on in two.
"I thought I was in the driver's seat," he said.
So did Pavin.
"I didn't think I'd make the chip, but I thought I might get it close," he said.
But the shot ran into the cup for a birdie and the stricken O'Meara missed his 15-foot putt to tie and extend the playoff.
"I play five days with three bogeys and 32 birdies and break the scoring record, and I don't win. I don't feel too good," said O'Meara, who failed in a try for a third consecutive victory in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am a week earlier, then led or shared the lead through four of the five rounds here before losing.
"After Pebble Beach, I just had to regroup and go on," O'Meara said. "I guess I've got to do it all over again now."
But he wasn't alone in his frustration.
Tim Simpson also broke the old record with a closing 67 and a 332 total, one shot out of the playoff.
"I just wasn't meant to win," he said.
Neither was veteran Ray Floyd, who had a second consecutive 64 and tied the old record. He missed the playoff by two strokes.
Pavin's victory, his second in this event, was worth $198,000 from the total purse of $1.1 million and lifted him into the early-season money-winning lead at $338,300.
At Lauderhill, Fla., It's got to take more than a sore shoulder to prevent Beth Daniel from winning a golf tournament, far more.
The 1990 LPGA Player of the Year, still favoring a shoulder injured two months ago, birdied three of the final eight holes on Sunday to hold off Nancy Lopez and Laura Baugh and win the $500,000 Phar-Mor Classic.
Daniel finished with a 209, 7-under par, and a two-stroke victory over Lopez, who was runnerup at this event for the second straight year at Inverrary Country Club.
"I knew I would have to play very well coming down the stretch to beat Nancy," said Daniel, whose rivalry with Lopez goes back to their college days in the 1970s. "I felt the turning point came when Lopez missed that little putt at the 13th hole" for her second bogey in a row.
Daniel's next challenge will be to win the Phar-Mor at Youngstown, Ohio, in August. That would put her in for the $1 million Phar-Mor bonus.