Kresge Defeats Barnes in Nationwide Playoff

By Sports NetworkSeptember 24, 2006, 4:00 pm
Nationwide TourJUNCTION CITY, Oreg. -- Cliff Kresge defeated Ricky Barnes with a par on the third playoff hole Sunday to win the Oregon Classic, his first victory in four years and third overall on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Kresge and Barnes finished at 17-under-par 271 -- Kresge after his third consecutive five-under 67 and Barnes following his third straight four-under 68.
 
Playing in the final group, Barnes made a birdie on 18 to force the playoff, then returned to play Shadow Hills' par-five closing hole two more times.
 
On the first sudden-death hole, Barnes saved par from the rough while Kresge made his par the conventional way, from the fairway.
 
Both players then botched the second playoff hole, but in different ways: Kresge drove into the right rough, then knocked his approach into a greenside bunker, while Barnes hit his first two shots into the rough.
 
Barnes made par after two-putting from 45 feet. Kresge needed two putts from 15 feet for his par.
 
Switching to the par-four 10th for the next hole, both players teed off into the rough again. Kresge had the better approach, though, sticking his second shot onto the green 20 feet from the hole and then watching as Barnes' sailed the putting surface.
 
Barnes chipped to five feet and Kresge lagged a birdie try within six inches.
 
After his opponent tapped in for his par, Barnes missed the downhill knee- knocker to give Kresge the win.
 
'You never like to win like that, you always want to make one to win,' said Kresge. 'Honestly, though, we'll all take them any way we can get them.'
 
Though Sunday's win was his first since 2002, Kresge has had an impressive season. He won $81,000 on Sunday and moved to No. 2 on the Nationwide Tour money list with $294,262.
 
'This feels great and now I'm just one place away from where I want to be,' said Kresge, who had six birdies and one bogey in the final round -- all on his first 11 holes.
 
Barnes, the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion, was seeking his first Nationwide Tour win. He had five birdies and one bogey on Sunday.
 
This was the ninth playoff on the Nationwide Tour this season. Kresge is no stranger to winning this way. He's 3-0 all-time in playoffs.
 
'Once you're in a playoff, the pressure's off because the worst you can do is second,' he said.
 
Tim Wilkinson, who shared the third-round lead with Barnes, shot a three-under 69 and finished in third place at 16-under 272. Chris Baryla had a 68 and ended in fourth at 13-under 275, while Scott Dunlap was one shot further back at 276 following a 67.
 
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