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Tiziani Wins Panama Playoff

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Canadian Tour-LargeCORONADO BEACH, PANAMA '- Coming off a 2001 Canadian Tour campaign that saw five of fourteen events decided in a playoff, Sundays final round of the season-opening Panasonic Panama Open showed 2002 may very well offer up much of the same.
 
Mario Tiziani (Chanhassen, Minn.) sank a six-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole to defeat Chad Wright and David Kirkpatrick and collect the $40,000 winners check. It was the 31-year-old Tizianis first-ever Canadian Tour triumph.
 
Carrying a two-shot edge over Wright into the final round, Tiziani, the brother-in-law of PGA star Steve Stricker, trailed Kirkpatrick by one shot on the final hole, but pulled even with a crucial birdie putt. Kirkpatrick could have won in regulation but missed his six-footer. Wright, who finished third in this event last year, had birdied the 17th hole to put himself in position to join the playoff.
 
On the second extra hole, Kirkpatrick missed a 16-foot birdie attempt before Tiziani dropped the winning putt. Wright had earlier hit his tee shot into the trees and couldnt recover when his second shot landed at the front of the green.
 
With the pin placed at the back, Wright three-putted and was eliminated. Tiziani, Wright and Kirkpatrick had all wound up at 5-under 273 through 72 holes, four shots in front of Patrick Moore (Cornelius, N.C.). Darren Griff of Salt Spring Island, B.C., finished tied for 18th, 10 strokes back.
 
The initial Canadian Tour event of the year featured the top 40 players from the Tours 2001 money list, 40 other professionals from around the world and four amateurs. ChampionsGate in Florida will play host to Winter Qualifying School from Feb. 11-15 before The Texas Classic kicks off the Canadian Tour U.S. swing March 7-10 in Houston.