Archive for Monday, May 19, 2008

Water saves Imada this time

Golfer wins AT&T Classic on first playoff hole

May 19, 2008


— Ryuji Imada stood atop the ridge that overlooks the 18th green at TPC Sugarloaf, wondering about all that commotion down below.

Could it be?

Yep, someone else was in the water.

One year after losing a playoff at the AT&T; Classic when he knocked a shot in the pond, Imada won the same tournament Sunday under nearly identical circumstances for his first PGA Tour victory. This time, Kenny Perry came up wet on the 73rd hole.

"I never really believed in destiny," Imada said. "But I'm starting to believe it."

The two finished regulation at 15-under 273, but Perry's ball wound up in the water on the first playoff hole even though his second shot easily cleared the pond in front of the green.

Unfortunately for Perry, he struck a pine tree behind the green about 10 feet up the trunk. The ball ricocheted straight back across the putting surface and didn't stop rolling until it was in the water, the gallery groaning in disbelief.

"I couldn't really tell what happened," said Imada, who was standing alongside his ball after driving in the rough. "I asked a couple of people, and one of them said it was close, and another said it was in the water. That's why it took me so long to make the decision to lay up."

Imada played it safe with an iron on the par-5 hole and wound up two-putting for the winning par.


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