Atlanta Golf Classic winner Larry Nelson was thinking survinal - not PGA Tour record.
The two-time PGA champ and former U.S. Open winner went into Sunday's final round of the $700,000 Classic in Marietta, Ga., with a realistic chance for going farther under par than any Tour golfer had gone before in a 72-hole tournament.But after early troubles quickly erased that bid, Nelson said he was just trying to "recapture my game" when he hung on down the stretch to win the Classic by a single shot.
Nelson saw a four-stroke lead turn into a one-stroke deficit (behind Paul Azinger) before winning the Classic for the second time in eight years by making a pressure-packed birdie putt on the final hole.
"You just shake your head and say `what happened?"' said Nelson, who had a 1-over-par 73 Sunday for a 20-under 268 after going 63-66-66 the first three rounds on the course where he has lived for nearly a decade.
Nelson earned $126,000. Beck, with a closing 66 was at 269 and Azinger, who fell out of contention with a double bogey at No. 15, closed with an eagle-3 for a 71-270.
Sunday was the 10th time Nelson has won during his 15 years on the Tour. He has now earned $256,906 this year and $2,430,569 during his pro golf career.
Azinger, who won the Bay Hill Classic in March, took the lead at No. 13 when he made a 25-footer, but Nelson got it back on the very next hole when he made a birdie while Azinger, who had hit into a hazard, wound up with a bogey.
Beck, who moved into second place on this year's money list at $614,819 _ just $2,515 behind pace-setting Curtis Strange who didn't play in Atlanta the Classic, was tied for the lead at the time he finished about 25 minutes before Nelson did.
At Oklahoma City, when that Oklahoma wind, absent all week, finally came sweeping down the plain, it swept away Harold Henning's chances of winning the $250,000 Southwestern Bell Silver Pages Classic.
Henning, who battled fellow South African Gary Player throughout Sunday's final round of the Senior PGA Tour event, reached for his 7-iron on the first playoff hole, the 159-yard par-3 16th. Earlier, Henning had used the same club to knock his ball six feet from the pin, setting up a birdie putt that temporarily gave him a one-shot lead.
But the first time around, the wind had been light, as it had been throughout three humid days of play over the 6,708-yard Quail Creek Golf and Country Club.
But by the time the playoff started, a storm front had begun moving through and the wind had picked up considerably. Henning hit his tee shot into a sand trap behind the green while Player, opting for an 8-iron insead of the 7-iron, left himself a 10-foot putt for victory.
Henning put his sand shot about five feet from the pin, but could only watch as Player sank the birdie putt to win his third Senior Tour event of the year.
Gene Littler, three shots out of the lead at the start of the day, found himself temporarily tied for the lead after moving to 10-under par through 10 holes. But he could manage only pars on the closing eight holes and wound up alone at 206.
At Wilmington, Del., Kathy Postlewait won the $500,000 McDonald's Championship and said she isn't going to push her luck or her injured back.
Shortly after a one-stroke victory, Postlewait said she would skip this week's du Maurier Classic, one of the four majors on the LPGA tour.
"I'm not playing next week," she said. "I couldn't handle the six-hour plane ride."
Because of her back problems, Postlewait could barely handle a golf club. Over the past five weeks, she'd managed only seven rounds of golf, and complained during the McDonald's of fatigue on the back nine. She couldn't stoop to pick the ball out the hole after a putt.
"In this golf tournament, winning was not in my stars," Postlewait said, yet win is what she did, thanks to a final-round of 1-under-par 70 that overtook 54-hole leader Patty Sheehan. Sheehan struggled to a 74 over the 6,366-yard Du Punt Country Club course, capped by a three-putt on the 18th hole to give Postlewait the title.
The winner's check of $75,000 almost doubled her winnings for the year.
The victory was the third in 15 pro seasons for the 39-year-old Postlewait, who won previously in 1983 and 1987. She came into the tournament with 1988 winnings of $77,605.