Originally created 03/15/04

Golf Capsules

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Todd Hamilton took 17 years to fulfill his dream of playing on the PGA Tour. It felt like sheer fantasy Sunday in the Honda Classic.

After blowing a four-shot lead, Hamilton recovered with birdies on his final two holes, stuffing an 8-iron into 4 feet on No. 18 to close with a 2-over 74 and beat Davis Love III by one shot.

Hamilton, who finished at 12-under 274, earned $900,000 and a two-year exemption on tour. The perks don't stop there. The 38-year-old tour rookie should easily move into the top 50 in the world ranking and qualify for the Masters.

Not bad for a guy who was living in obscurity on the Japanese tour last year, despite winning four times, and who spent the last 12 years toiling in the Far East.

Love (69) was the runner-up in the Honda Classic for the second straight time. Brian Bateman, who had never finished in the top 10 on the PGA Tour, had a share of the lead at 10 under when he finished with his 68. He wound up third and earned $340,000.

Welch's/Fry's Championship

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Karen Stupples had a breakthrough week at Randolph Park, shooting the best 72-hole score in LPGA Tour history to win her first tour title.

The 30-year-old Englishwoman broke the tour record for raw score, closing with a 7-under 63 to finish the Welch's/Fry's Championship at 22-under 258. She beat Grace Park and Jung Yeon Lee by five strokes in the season-opening tournament.

Wendy Doolan set the previous record (259) last year, the first time for the tournament was played on the 6,176-yard Dell Urich layout. Annika Sorenstam's 261 in 2001 at Moon Valley in Phoenix is the tour's best for a par-72 course.

Stupples, who had never finished higher than a tie for third in five previous seasons on the tour, eagled the 13th hole to pull away from her nearest rivals.

Park, sixth, third and fourth in Tucson the last three years, turned in a 67, but bogeyed the last hole to drop into a tie with Lee (66) at 263.

Qatar Masters

DOHA, Qatar -- Sweden's Joakim Haeggman won the Qatar Open for his third European tour title, closing with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot victory over Japan's Nobuhito Sato.

Haeggman finished at 16-under 272 on the Doha Golf Club course. Sato shot a 68. France's Raphael Jacquelin, England's Brian Davis and Spain's Jose Manual Lara tied for third at 14 under.


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