Thorpe Tops Hatalsky in Monday Playoff


2005 Blue Angels ClassicMILTON, Fla. -- Jim Thorpe birdied the third hole of a playoff Monday morning to win the Blue Angels Classic over Morris Hatalsky. The victory was Thorpe's second in a row on the Champions Tour.
Thorpe and Hatalsky finished regulation tied at 16-under-par 194 after a series of weather delays Sunday at The Moors Golf Club. With little daylight left, the duo began the playoff and both players parred the first extra hole before they decided it was too dark to continue.
They returned to the course Monday morning and Hatalsky hit his second shot to 8 feet at the second playoff hole, the par-4 10th. Thorpe followed and watched his ball hit the flag and roll within 9 feet of the cup. Thorpe missed his birdie try and Hatalsky was unable to convert to send the playoff back to the 18th.
'I never thought I'd miss my putt on 10,' said Thorpe, who won the FedEx Kinko's Classic two weeks ago.
At the 18th, Hatalsky was unlucky with his approach and left his second shot in a greenside bunker. Thorpe attacked the pin and dropped his second within 5 feet of the hole. Hatalsky got up and down for par, but Thorpe converted his birdie try for the win.
'It's a shame that we both played as well as we played and somebody's got to lose,' said Thorpe, who won for the 11th time on the Champions Tour. 'Whoever won the tournament earned it. My hat's off to Morris.'
Thorpe shot a 3-under 67 in Sunday's final round, while Hatalsky carded a 4-under 66 to force the playoff.
Defending champion Tom Jenkins shot a 4-under 66 and tied for third place with reigning U.S. Senior Open champion Peter Jacobsen (65), Fuzzy Zoeller (64) and Don Pooley (63). The group came in at 13-under-par 197.
Thorpe was one ahead with Sunday's final round to go, but Hatalsky pulled one clear when play was halted for the second time. When the two came back, Hatalsky knocked his approach to 8 feet at the 14th and Thorpe's second spun back to 30 feet. Thorpe left himself with 3 feet and Hatalsky missed his birdie try, but tapped in for par. Thorpe lipped out his par putt to fall two behind Hatalsky.
Thorpe reclaimed the lost stroke at 15 when his 5-footer for birdie found the bottom of the cup. At the par-3 16th, neither player landed on the putting surface, but Thorpe chipped to 2 feet. Hatalsky blasted out of a bunker to 7 feet, then pushed his par putt right.
The two were now tied, but Hatalsky went one shot ahead at 17 when his 10-foot birdie putt fell.
Hatalsky made a questionable decision off the 18th tee when he hit 3-wood. He had 198 yards to the pin and hit a utility club 11 feet over the flag. Thorpe's drive found the light rough and his approach stopped 8 feet from the hole. Hatalsky missed his birdie putt, but Thorpe's found the center of the cup to forge a tie.
The two signed their cards and Thorpe walked outside to see how much light was left. Thorpe decided that there was enough light and they went back to the 18th tee. Hatalsky hit first and split the fairway, while Thorpe found a fairway bunker with his drive. Hatalsky played his second 20 feet right of the hole, then Thorpe hit it a foot from Hatalsky's ball. Neither made their birdie putts and the playoff was pushed into Monday morning, when Thorpe was ultimately crowned the champion.
Dave Barr (63) and Dana Quigley (67) shared seventh place at minus-12.
Craig Stadler, who tied the lowest round in Champions Tour history on Saturday with a 60, shot an even-par 70 on Sunday. He tied for ninth place with Tom Purtzer (65), Allen Doyle (66), Vicente Fernandez (67), Mike Sullivan (68) and David Eger (68) at 11-under-par 199.
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