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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bryant wins Memorial


Annika Sorenstam plants a kiss on her putter after sinking a long putt from off the green for an eagle on hole No. 18.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

Bart Bryant spent 20 years trying to prove he belonged among the best, often laying awake at night wondering if three surgeries and too many trips to Q-school were a sign he was wasting his time.

Winning the Texas Open last fall was the first step.

Validation came Sunday at the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio. Bryant somehow salvaged par from inside a hazard on the edge of the creek on the 18th hole, held off crowd-favorite Fred Couples by one shot and had an audience with Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host who was duly impressed with what he saw at Muirfield Village.

“To win against a quality field like this … to walk off the 18th green and have Mr. Nicklaus waiting to shake your hand and congratulate you is beyond comprehension at this point,” Bryant said.

Tiger Woods was stopped early with a double bogey on the eighth hole, and he wound up tied for third with Bo Van Pelt and Jeff Sluman. Woods needed to finish alone in third to replace Vijay Singh at No. 1 in the world ranking.

Bryant emerged the winner on a steamy afternoon at Muirfield Village, where the chase was so tight that 11 players were within three shots of the lead when the final group made the turn, and no one ever led by more than one shot.

It eventually became a duel, and Bryant didn’t blink.

The raucous cheers behind him as Couples surged into the lead never rattled the 42-year-old Texan. Bryant stole the lead from Couples, not to mention the show, with an approach into 5 feet for birdie on the 17th.

The real drama came at the 18th, when his 3-wood took a hard bounce and stopped inches from the water.

Playing it safe, Bryant took a penalty drop and lashed a 6-iron into 15 feet, then holed the par putt for a 4-under 68. He sat nervously in the scoring trailer waiting to see if his score would stand, and Couples’ last chance ended with an approach that sailed over the green into deep rough.

“Bart deserved to win,” Couples said after missing two putts inside 10 feet over the final four holes. “I can’t really kick myself too hard. There are a lot of shots out there and there are a lot of things I did to save shots, too. But overall, I just needed one more putt.”

Bryant finished at 16-under 272 and won $990,000.

LPGA

With a vintage performance and a rousing finish, Annika Sorenstam eagled the last hole for a final-round 64 to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J., by four strokes.

After fending off game challenges by Juli Inkster and Laura Davies, Sorenstam rolled in a 50-foot putt for eagle at the 18th to put the finishing touches on a 17-under 196 total.

It was Sorenstam’s 61st LPGA victory and fifth in seven events of this season.

Sorenstam won the ShopRite for the third time and claimed the $210,000 winner’s share. Inkster closed with a 68 and was 13 under. Catriona Matthew (64) and Laura Davies (68) were five strokes back at 12 under.

Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., closed with a 1-under-par 70 for a total of 1-over 214. She finished in a six-way tie for 33rd and earned $9,149.

Champions Tour

Tom Jenkins has flirted with victory on the Champions Tour for more than a month. He finally got one in Polk City, Iowa.

Jenkins rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to beat D.A. Weibring and win the Allianz Championship. He had finished in the top 10 in five of his previous six tournaments, including two seconds and a third, but just wasn’t able to get that win – until now.

Jenkins and Weibring, the defending champion, finished 54 holes on the wind-swept Tournament Club of Iowa at 9-under 204, Jenkins closing with a 67 and Weibring a 66. Jenkins had finished second to Weibring in his tournament last year.

Both parred the first playoff hole, No. 18. Then they went to 17, a par 5, and Jenkins set himself up with a clutch wedge from the fairway. The ball bounced in front of the hole, then curved around behind and stopped 5 feet away.

European Tour

Miguel Angel Jimenez eagled the 16th hole from 40 feet, carding a 7-under 62 to win the Wales Open in Newport, Wales, by four strokes.

Sweden’s Martin Erlandsson shot a 63 to share second place with Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara (66).

France’s Jean-Francois Lucquin was fourth after a 67.