Hoch Wins in Playoff Continuation

By Sports NetworkMarch 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
MIAMI -- Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk finished the Ford Championship at Doral on Monday morning, as play was suspended due to darkness on the second playoff hole.
 
Hock and Furyk finished regulation tied at 17-under-par 271. Furyk shot a final-round 68 to tie Hoch, who carded a 69, atop the leaderboard and send the event to the fifth playoff in its history.
 
Play was halted on the second extra hole when it became too dark for the players to read their putts.
 
'I made that mistake before. I've done that a few times where he would hurry and finish before dark, so you don't have to come back out the first thing in the morning,' Hoch said. 'I can't remember anything ever good happening by doing that.'
 
The duo will returned to the course at 8:00 AM ET Monday, where both players made their par putts and went on the third hole of sudden death, the 18th. There Hoch rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th hole, known as the Blue Monster, to win after Furyk had two-putted for par.
 
'I have an eight o'clock tee time tomorrow. I start on a putt,' said Furyk Sunday. 'I am going to try to get in a rhythm and try to make some good golf swings and go over to the green and hit some putts. I'm going to emulate the putt I have a little bit from length and break and get ready to go.'
 
Hoch and Furyk were both 17-under heading to the 72nd hole. Furyk, playing one group ahead of Hoch, flew the green with his approach shot to the par-4 finishing hole.
 
After taking a free drop from the grandstand, Furyk chipped to within three feet and made the par saving putt.
 
'I wasn't real happy with the way I played the 18th hole,' said Furyk. 'I hit a beautiful drive in regulation. I came a little over the top on a wedge and knocked it over the green. Then I hit a great pitch and knocked in a testy three-footer to make par. It looks like Scott did the same exact thing.'
 
Hoch faced the same fate as Furyk. His second shot sailed over the green as both players misjudged the wind. Hoch also received a free drop from the grandstand, but he took three drops before playing his shot.
 
He took one drop and still did not have a full swing and took a second drop, but the ball bounced forward forcing him to drop for a third time. The third drop also bounded forward and was then placed. Hoch then knocked his chip within three feet and saved par.
 
On the first playoff hole, No. 18, Hoch found the fairway, while Furyk was in a fairway bunker behind some trees. Hoch knocked his second some 20 feet from the cup. Furyk caught his shot cleanly and flew it into the grandstand behind the green again.
 
After a free drop, Furyk again knocked his chip close and saved par.
 
'In the playoff I just hit a poor drive (on 18),' Furyk said. 'I got a good break that I could hit it at the pin, but in order to get it back there on the green I would have had to hit an incredible shot. I got a little aggressive and killed it. But I was trying to make sure I got it up over the tree and the water.'
 
Hoch, meanwhile, missed his birdie chance and tapped in for par, forcing a second playoff hole.
 
On that hole, the par-5 first on the Blue Course of the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Hoch's drive found a fairway bunker and Furyk pulled his tee ball left into the rough.
 
Hoch's ball was sitting in a footprint in the sand. He was able to advance the ball about 175 yards, then stuck a wedge within seven feet of the cup.
 
Furyk also had to lay up because he had several trees between his ball and the green. He knocked his third shot to within seven feet of the cup as well.
 
Hoch briefly debated with a PGA Tour official, who was away for the first putt. It was determined that Hoch was away and had to putt first. He then told the official it was too dark to read any break in his putt. Furyk did not argue and play was suspended with birdie putts pending.
 
'There's too much riding on this to play a shot on guesswork,' said Hoch.
 
Furyk agreed.
 
'Winning a golf tournament is important and not being able to read a putt and leaving it up to the end of the day I think the right decision was made,' Furyk said.
 
Hoch, who has had several eye operations in the past, did not want to go on.
 
'I don't have a vision problem anymore. I see well at night,' said Hoch. 'But as far as depth perception, I have a problem. Before I even got my eyes fixed in the beginning I could see really well at night. But I don't have night vision to read greens.'
 
The fans however booed the decision not to complete the playoff.
 
'I feel badly about it,' said Furyk. 'It was Scott's putt first. He made the call. It is awkward. I feel badly that the fans were obviously a little upset about it. I understand their side of it too. There won't be many seeing the finish.'
 
The playoff will continue the rotation of the first hole and the 18th hole until a winner is determined.
 
Furyk, the 2000 winner of this event, started quickly with a birdie at the first. He later rolled in a birdie at the sixth to tie Hoch atop the leaderboard.
 
Hoch bogeyed the sixth and after missing a birdie chance at the seventh, Furyk birdied the eighth to grab a two-shot lead.
 
However, Furyk bogeyed the ninth while Hoch birdied the eighth to create another tie. Furyk moved to minus-17 and regained a two-shot lead when he chipped-in for eagle at the par-5 10th. Hoch fought back with birdies at the 10th and 11th to forge another tie.
 
Furyk, a seven-time winner on Tour, moved to minus-18 one stroke ahead of the hard-charging Hoch with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 12th.
 
However, he fell back into a share of the lead when he was unable to get up-and-down for par on the par-3 13th. When Hoch three-putted for bogey at the same hole, Furyk was alone in first again.
 
Hoch joined Furyk at 17-under and atop the leaderboard with a birdie on 14. Both parred the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to set up the dramatic on finish.
 
Bob Tway, who got within one stroke of the lead with a birdie at 14, faltered with a bogey at the 17th. He finished alone in third place, his best finish since the 2001 Nissan Open where he and four others lost to Robert Allenby in a playoff.
 
Tim Petrovic finished alone in fourth place at 14-under-par 274. Kenny Perry, Jonathan Byrd and Heath Slocum finished tied for fifth one stroke further back at minus-13.
 
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