Originally created 05/15/00

Parnevik wins a real Texas shootout

IRVING, Texas -- Jesper Parnevik missed a 1-foot putt, but not the one that mattered.

The 35-year-old Swede overcame a horrendous blunder earlier in Sunday's round by making par on the third extra hole to win the Byron Nelson Classic in a thrilling playoff over hard-luck Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson.

Love, who remains winless in his last 47 PGA Tour events, caught a huge break when he was given relief from newly laid sod left of the 18th green. He chipped to 5 feet, but missed the par putt. That left Parnevik only a short putt for his second victory this year.

It was gimme length, but not after what happened on the 12th hole, when Parnevik somehow missed from that same distance. He recovered with two birdies for a 4-under-par 66 that got him into the playoff at 11-under 269.

Phil Mickelson bogeyed the 72nd hole for a 65, but was eliminated with a par on the par-3 17th, the second playoff hole, when his 15-foot birdie putt lipped out.

Love stayed alive with a 20-foot birdie on the same hole, but will look back on two critical misses on the 18th. He had an 8-foot birdie putt in regulation that would have given him his first victory in more than two years.

Love, who was tied for the third-round lead with John Huston, had a 69. It was seventh time Love has finished second since his victory in the 1998 MCI Classic.

Parnevik earned $720,000 for the fourth PGA Tour victory of his career. He will move into the top 10 in the world ranking by winning against a world-class field, and now must be considered for more than his flipped-up cap and eccentric behaviors.

No one since Doug Sanders has won on tour with such outrageous pants -- hot pink, the color of a Pepto-Bismol bottle.

Tiger Woods nearly pulled off the greatest final-round comeback of his career, with another eagle from the fairway.

Seven shots back to start the final round, he closed with a 63, his lowest final round ever as a professional. But he missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th and wound up one stroke out of the playoff at 270, along with Huston (70).

Butch Harmon, who caught a red-eye from Las Vegas early Saturday to help Woods with posture problems, patted him on the back before he went to the first tee and told him, "See you on the driving range before the playoff."

He was almost right.

It was the 16th time in his last 19 tour events that Woods has finished in the top five.

Mickelson surged into contention with birdies on the first two holes and an eagle on No. 7, and he took the lead with a 20-foot birdie on the 17th. He pumped his fist twice, rare emotion for Mickelson, but a sign that he felt he had this one in the bag.

He hadn't made a bogey in 32 holes, but caught a plugged lie in the bunker and two-putted for bogey from 25 feet to fall to 11 under.

Woods and David Duval, the top two players in the world ranking, were paired alone in the final round for the first time, both of them seven shots out of the lead.

What emerged was more evidence that Duval's putter is holding him back -- and that no lead is safe when Woods is on his game.

From 99 yards away in the fourth fairway, his sand wedge hit next to the hole, hopped twice and spun back into the cup for an eagle, bringing back memories of Pebble Beach when his eagle from the 15th fairway led to a seven-stroke comeback.

The gallery behind the green responded like fans behind the goal posts after a game-winning field goal. Woods never saw the ball go in.

"It's hard to get excited over a shot when you never saw it," Woods said. "At least at Pebble, I could see it."

And just like Pebble, this put him back in the hunt. With two more birdies for a 30 on the front nine, he trailed the third-round leaders by only one stroke.

The biggest galleries followed Woods, and some climbed trees to get a better view. Woods didn't disappoint with decent birdie chances on nearly every hole and the kind of emotion that left the TPC at Las Colinas buzzing all afternoon.

With a two-putt birdie on the 16th, Woods got to 10 under and, for the first time all week, was in a tie for the lead.

Love made a 15-foot eagle putt on No. 7 and a terrific birdie from a fairway bunker on 10 put that put him at 12 under, and in control of the tournament. That didn't last.

He three-putted No. 12 for bogey, then again ran into trouble on the 14th with a 4-wood into the trees that left him no option but to pitch to the fairway. His bogey created a four-way tie for the lead among Love, Woods, Parnevik and Mickelson.

But Woods narrowly missed birdies chances on the last two holes, sinking to his knees in disbelief when his 15-footer on the 18th caught the left edge.

"I knew if I could make that putt it might make things interesting," Woods said.

The Nelson Classic had all the excitement it could take for one week.


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