Wilson Playoff Winner at the Honda

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2006 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Mark Wilson's long wait is over. He's a PGA TOUR winner.
 
Wilson birdied the third playoff hole Monday to beat Jose Coceres and win the Honda Classic, his first tour victory in 111 starts.
 
Wilson rolled in a 10-footer on the par-3 17th, then retreated to the side of the green to see if Coceres -- who had a putt of nearly the same distance, and nearly on the same line -- could match the birdie. But the putt hit the lip and rolled away, and Wilson could finally exhale.
 
Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson hugs his caddie after wrapping up his first-ever PGA TOUR win. (WireImages)
He thrust both fists into the air, hugged caddy Chris P. Jones, and rejoiced in knowing that both an exemption through the 2009 season and a $990,000 winner's check were coming his way.
 
Not bad for a guy who's ended his year at the tour's qualifying school in each of the last 10 years.
 
'Believe me, I studied the numbers last night,' said Wilson, who was a math major at North Carolina. 'I looked at it and said, if I can win tomorrow, I might get into Doral and have a good chance with another good week of getting into the Masters for the first time. The numbers kind of get in your way sometimes, because then you put too much pressure on yourself, but in this case I think they helped me.'
 
Boo Weekley and Camilo Villegas were eliminated from the playoff with bogeys on the second hole, the par-4 10th, which was the first one played Monday by the foursome -- all of whom finished regulation play on the PGA National course at 5-under 275.
 
Weekley missed a 3-foot par putt on the 72nd hole Sunday, one that would have won him the tournament. On the 10th hole Monday, his drive was deep in the left rough, leaving him no chance of reaching the long par-4, and he made bogey.
 
'It's a learning experience. I'm disappointed in myself after yesterday, but that's golf, man,' Weekley said. 'That just happens. ... Just golf. Just a part of it.'
 
All four made par on the par-5 18th on Sunday night when the playoff began, but darkness forced the playoff to Monday.
 
Wilson got into the playoff largely because of a 45-foot par save at the par-4 16th late Sunday afternoon. He made another clutch 8-footer for par on the final regulation hole, then rolled in a 30-footer for par on the first playoff hole, yet that was just part of his dramatic week.
 
On Friday, he called a two-shot penalty on himself because his caddy inadvertently gave Villegas and his caddy club information on the par-3 fifth hole.
 
Without that penalty, Wilson might have won the event on Sunday -- but didn't mind waiting until Monday.
 
'After the putts went in on 16, 18 and then in the playoff yesterday on 18, I just had a feeling someone wanted me to win,' Wilson said.
 
Villegas and Coceres closed on Sunday with 4-under 66s, while Weekley and Wilson shot 71s. Tripp Isenhour (67), Robert Allenby (68) and Steve Stricker (69) followed at 4 under, and Brett Wetterich and Daniel Chopra (71) were another shot back.
 
The leaderboard was tight at the start of Sunday's round, and only got more congested during the afternoon.
 
Villegas wound up getting to the crucial 5-under mark with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 -- the final two holes of PGA National's famed 'Bear Trap,' named in honor of course redesigner Jack Nicklaus.
 
Isenhour -- who made a costly bogey at the 15th hole, the first of the three-hole stretch named in Nicklaus' honor -- nearly joined the final logjam at 5 under, but his birdie putt at the final hole slid just past the right edge.
 
'I kept giving myself chances,' Isenhour said. 'I got 'Bear Trapped.''
 
It's the sixth time the Honda went to a playoff. The last time was 2005, when Padraig Harrington beat Vijay Singh and Joe Ogilvie at Mirasol on the second extra hole. It also was the TOUR's first four-man playoff since the 2004 Reno-Tahoe Open, and the first unscheduled Monday finish since the 2005 PGA Championship.
 
'I'm just thrilled,' Wilson said. 'I'm just tickled to death.'
 
DIVOTS
Robert Garrigus' final round started with a double bogey, and got worse. He took another double at No. 7, then put three balls in the water at the par-3 15th -- making 9 there and furthering his spiral to a 14-over 84. He finished at 18 over. ... J.J. Henry bogeyed the par-4 eighth hole, ending a run of 26 straight holes without dropping a shot. ... Even though the course was demanding, most players said they enjoyed the test. 'We're hoping this is the first of many good tournaments here,' Nicklaus said.
 
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