J.P. Hayes earned the first victory of his PGA Tour career Sunday with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Jim Furyk at the rain-shortened Buick Classic.

The loss continued Furyk's frustrating, but lucrative, string of near misses.Furyk forced the playoff by making a 10-foot eagle putt on the same par-5 18th used for the playoff, while Hayes, playing in the same group, made a birdie out of a greenside bunker on the final hole of regulation.

Both golfers started the day tied for the lead at nine under and both shot 3-under-par 68s to finish at 201 in the tournament shortened to 54 holes.

Tom Lehman finished third at 9-under 204, thanks to six birdies on a final-round 65, the best score of the day. Bruce Fleisher was fourth at 205 after shooting a closing 69.

Furyk drove into the left rough on the playoff hole and, when he tried to duplicate the sensational 3-wood he had hit to the green minutes earlier, he hooked the ball left into even deeper rough. His wedgewas on the back edge of the green, 40 feet from the cup and he missed his birdie attempt by three feet.

Hayes, meanwhile, was on the fringe in two, hit his first putt within six feet and knocked the second one into the center of the cup.

First-prize money of $324,000 at the Buick Classic was not much less than the $368,610 Hayes had won in his five years on the PGA Tour starting in 1992.

The tournament was cut to 54 holes because heavy rain and lightning prevented Friday's second round from being completed until Sunday morning. Hayes had to play five holes in the morning and come back for the closing round in the afternoon.

Playing in the final group, Hayes and Furyk were by turns brilliant and shaky during the closing round. Hayes made birdies on Nos. 5, 6 and 7 to go 13 under and take his biggest lead of the day at three shots. Furyk's birdie on 10 narrowed Hayes' margin to two strokes.

On 14, the pressure started to get to both players when they each three-putted.

Furyk got within a stroke on 15 by drilling a 4-iron to two feet for a birdie, but both players missed putts of less than eight feet on the par-3 16th for two more bogeys.

Furyk hasn't won in two years, but he has remained in the top 10 on the money list by often finishing on the leaderboard on Sunday. In his last three tournaments, Furyk has finished second at the Colonial, fourth at the Memorial and second here and won $548,000. Furyk set a record in 1997 for most prize money ever earned - $1.6 million - without winning a tournament.

BellSouth Seniors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Isao Aoki let most of his eight-stroke lead slip away before making key par saves and going on to beat Larry Nelson by two strokes Sunday in the BellSouth Senior Classic.

Aoki came into the third and final round after a 10-under-par 62 Saturday left him at 128 - tying the 36-hole seniors record of 16 under, set last year by Hale Irwin.

A closing 70 allowed Aoki to go wire-to-wire for his second victory in this tournament and first of the year.

Nelson, who designed the Springhouse Golf Club course, nearly caught Aoki with a bogey-free round of eight birdies that yielded a closing 64. Hale Irwin finished with a 66 to stand at 201, three shots off the pace.

John Jacobs, a first-time winner on the tour last weekend at the Nationwide Championship, had a 69 to finish at 205.

For a while, it appeared that Aoki was going to copy his first two rounds by staying mistake-free.

But he ran into trouble on the par-5 No. 6, where he left his putt short and settled for his first bogey on the 41st hole. He also bogeyed No. 7, when he left his chip shot in the fringe short of the green.

Nelson had started the day tied with Irwin eight strokes back and wasted little time trying to catch Aoki, who also led wire-to-wire when he won here in 1996. Nelson strung together birdies on Nos. 6-9, and pulled within three strokes.

Aoki settled himself with birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to stay three strokes ahead of Nelson, playing with him and Irwin in the final threesome. Nelson, trying to win in his first appearance at the course, birdied No. 12 to pull within two strokes.


EAST LANSING, Mich. - Canadian Lisa Walters tied the all-time LPGA record by winning the Oldsmobile Classic with a 23-under 265 total Sunday.

Wendy Ward set the record of 23-under at last year's Fieldcrest Cannon Classic in Charlotte, N.C.

Walters fired a 6-under 66 in the final round for her third victory on the LPGA Tour, her first since 1993. She tied Ward's record with a birdie at the 175-yard, par-3 16th hole.

Walters earned $97,500 from the $650,000 purse. She earned less than $27,000 on tour last year and earned only $769 in 1996.

"This win is better than my first," Walters said. "This is the first time I've won a four-day tournament. This is a nice comeback, to win and to win in grand style."

Donna Andrews, the LPGA's leading money winner who led after each of the first two rounds, finished second for the fourth week in a row. Andrews closed with a 67 for a 271 total. Australian Karrie Webb was third at 272.

Walters broke the tournament record by three strokes. Beth Daniel won with a 20-under 268 in 1994.

Walters and Andrews both eagled the 440-yard, par-5 14th hole, but Walters' eagle sealed the victory as it kept her six strokes ahead with four holes to play.

"I was not complacent today," Walters said. "For two days I watched (Andrews) hit the ball right at the flag and she didn't look like she was going to stop doing that."

"I have had so many bad years out here. I knew I was a better golfer than I was proving. I felt like I was a disappointment to myself."