Originally created 02/15/99

Norman runner-up in Australian Masters



MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australia's Craig Spence birdied the final hole to beat Greg Norman and win the his first pro title in the Australian Masters Sunday.

Spence started the final round two shots ahead of Norman and met his idol for the first time on the opening tee Sunday. He was given a hug by Norman at the end of the round and walked off the green in tears.

The two were tied at the final hole, where Spence hit a 4-iron from 180 yards to 2 feet from the hole. Norman, a six-time winner of the tournament, sent his second shot to 35 feet from the pin and two-putted.

Spence, playing on his home course, holed his birdie putt to finish with a 3-under 70 for a 16-under 276 total.

"Well done, mate, you deserved it," Norman told Spence.

Spence said he battled to stay calm as he went head-to-head against Norman, who closed with a 69.

"It was such a grind to stay emotionally level," Spence said. "What was keeping me strong was I'd done the hard work. I'd led all the way and I knew people would admire that, so I thought don't worry about it."

Norman was seeking his first tournament win over 72 holes since shoulder surgery in April.

"I'm not disappointed, I got beat by a great golf shot," Norman said. "I've come a long way in four days. I'm in control of my game."

Norman had rebounded from an opening round 74 to shoot rounds of 68-66-69.

Three-time champion Craig Parry of Australia finished tied for third at 279 with New Zealander Greg Turner and amateur Kim Felton.