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Archive for Monday, October 11, 2004

Confused Stolz wins Michelin

Two-putt on final hole gives rookie victory, not tie, in Vegas

October 11, 2004

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— Andre Stolz wondered what his caddie was doing when he took the flag out of the 18th hole and began carrying it off the green.

Turns out his caddie was better with numbers than he was.

The tour rookie from Australia capped an improbable week by two-putting from 45 feet on the final hole Sunday to beat Tom Lehman and two others by a shot in the Michelin Championship.

He thought he had tied Lehman for the lead with his final putt. In fact, he had won.

"I said, 'What are you doing, we've still got a playoff,"' Stolz said. "He said, 'No, we've won."'

Instead of going home to Australia wondering where he was going to play next year, Stolz planned to leave late Sunday with a check for $720,000 and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

Pretty impressive stuff for a player who had made only $88,373 all year and at one time missed the cut in eight tournaments in a row.

"The money is fantastic, and I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't," Stolz said. "But I think it's the personal satisfaction deep down."

Stolz made a crucial birdie putt on the 16th hole, then parred the last two holes. He thought it was good enough for a tie with Lehman, but Lehman actually was a stroke behind with Tag Ridings and Harrison Frazar.

That was why Stolz showed little emotion when he rammed in a final three-footer for a par he thought only put him in a playoff.

"I thought I had more work to do," he said.

Ridings, who tied the course record with a final-round 61, tied for second along with Lehman (69) and Frazar (67).

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