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Allenby Prevails in Another Playoff

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Robert Allenby closed the Wild, Wild West Coast Swing by birdieing the first hole in a six-man playoff to capture the 75th Nissan Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
 
Allenby defeated Brandel Chamblee (67), Bob Tway (68), Jeff Sluman (69), Dennis Paulson (70) and Toshi Izawa (66) when he became just the third man all weekend to birdie the par-4 18th. Allenby striped a 3-wood through the cold, heavy rain to five feet on the first hole of sudden-death. He then converted the birdie putt.
 
The playoff was the largest on the PGA Tour since Neal Lancaster defeated five others in the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic, which was reduced to 36 holes because of rain.
 
Allenby comments on his playoff win.
 
This is the Australian's third PGA Tour victory over the past two seasons, all of which have come in playoffs. He defeated Craig Stadler in a four-hole playoff to earn his maiden triumph in last year's Shell Houston Open, and then captured the Advil Western Open by bettering Nick Price on the first extra hole.
 
'I'm pretty confident going into playoffs,' said Allenby, who is now 7-0 worldwide in playoffs. 'It's a matter of who can get it in the hole the quickest.'
 
Allenby could have avoided the playoff, but bogeyed the 18th in regulation for a round of 1-under-par 70. He entered the Riviera clubhouse tied at 8-under-par with several others, who waited to see if they would factor into the final outcome.
 
Davis Love III was in position to win for the second time in his last three starts. He began the day with a three-shot lead at 10-under, but bogeyed the third and fourth holes to create a logjam that would last throughout the day.
 
Love reclaimed the solo lead at 10-under by birdieing the eighth and 14th holes, but played his next two holes in 3-over to finish in a tie for eighth place. Love found the muddy bunkers at both the 15th and 16th holes. He doubled the first and bogeyed the latter for a 4-over-par 75.
 
Love didn't leave empty-handed. He was awarded the unofficial $500,000 bonus for winning the West Coast Swing, though it proved to be small consolation.
 
Ten players had a share of the lead at some point in the final round. Aside from Love and the six men in the playoff, Corey Pavin, Michael Muehr and Chris Perry were all tied at the top.
 
Pavin was 9-under through six holes but badly hooked his tee shot at the par-4 7th. He bogeyed that hole, doubled the 9th, bogeyed the 10th; and, despite back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th holes, Pavin bogeyed the 16th and 17th to shoot 74 and finish the event at 5-under-par.
 
Muehr entered the mix by holing his approach shot to the par-4 10th for an eagle, but quickly dropped three shots over his next three holes to fall to 6-under. He finished his day by bogeying the 18th for a round of 72 and a 13th place finish at 5-under.
 

Likewise, Perry made his way to 9-under with a birdie at the 13th, but bogeyed three of his final four holes to finish in a five-way tie for eighth at 6-under.
 
When regulation finally came to a close, six players were tied at 9-under-par 276. On the 451-yard par-4 18th, Allenby and Tway were the only two of the sextet to reach the green in two shots.
 
Allenby was caught between a 2-iron and a 3-wood from about 225 yards. He choked up on the metal wood and laced his ball to within five feet of the cup.
 
'I was trying to hit the perfect shot, and I came up with it,' said Allenby. 'To pull it off in those conditions - pouring rain, five guys on your heels - that's going to be the shot that stays in my memory bank for a long time.'
 
Tway missed his birdie effort from 35 feet and was forced to watch, along with his four peers, as Allenby ended the playoff by sinking his putt from five feet.
 
The 29-year-old collects $612,000 and moves to eighth on the '01 money list.
 
The Tour now heads to Doral for the first of four straight events in Florida. Tiger Woods will certainly welcome a change of scenery. Woods shot even-par 71 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 13th place at 5-under. In five West Coast starts, Tiger collected three top-10s and a pair of 13th-place finishes. He hasn't won in his last eight PGA Tour starts.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*There have been nine different winners in the nine PGA Tour events thus far in 2001.
 
*Robert Allenby has now won 13 times internationally.
 
*Toshi Izawa was playing on a rare commissioner's exemption; given to him due to a strong Japanese contingent in Southern California. He made his first stateside start in the 2000 PGA Championship, where he tied for 39th.
 
*Because of the rain, players were allowed to lift, clean and place.
 
*Tiger Woods will play the upcoming Dubai Desert Classic. His next scheduled PGA Tour start is the Bay Hill Invitational.
 
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Nissan Open!