Tom Kite Tops Tom Watson in Playoff


Tom Kite parred the second extra hole Sunday to defeat overnight leader Tom Watson and capture the SBC Senior Classic. He posted a 3-under 69 to share the 54-hole lead with Watson at 4-under-par 212.
The duo stood on the par-4 10th tee for the second hole of the playoff and Kite nailed his drive down the fairway. Watson found the right rough and could not reach the green in two shots, so he laid up short of a greenside bunker. Kite had no trouble finding the putting surface with his approach, as his ball landed 18 feet from the stick.
Watson chipped his third shot to six feet while Kite narrowly missed his birdie putt on the right edge but tapped in for par. Watson's par save to extend the playoff never touched the hole and Kite won for the second time in 2002 and the fifth time in his career on the elder circuit.
'I got lucky out there on the last few holes,' said Kite, who also won the season-opening Mastercard Championship. 'I made some good putts down the stretch and Tom didn't.'
The par-saving putt at No. 10 was not the only crucial putt Watson failed to hole. At the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, neither player reached the green in two shots. Kite played his third 25 feet short and left of the hole while Watson nestled his approach four feet right of the hole.
Kite's birdie try missed on the left edge but he walked off with a par. Watson's chance for the championship also never touched the hole and it was off to the 10th.
'He made the putts he had to,' said Watson, who carded a final-round 71. 'I missed the putt on the first playoff hole which opened the door for him. I didn't play well off the tee like you have to on this golf course. Of course it cost me on this hole and I didn't have much of a chance.'
Watson pulled a shot out of his hat just to make the playoff. Kite was tied for the lead at 3-under-par with Gil Morgan, who drained a four-foot eagle putt.
Watson missed the green short at the last hole but he chipped in from 75 feet to reach 4-under-par and grab the lead. Kite's third from the back fringe rolled to six feet, where he calmly ran home the putt to force the playoff.
'It's fun to get into competition like this,' said Kite, who collected $217,500 for the win. 'I sure am proud to have a chance to go up against Tom. He's such a great player and does so many things right.'
Morgan and Purtzer shared third place at 3-under-par, the only other players in the field to come in under par.
Bob Gilder, the Senior Tour's Rookie of the Year in 2001, finished in fifth place at 1-over-par.
Kite held the advantage on the back nine but ran into serious trouble at the 13th. His drive found the trees on the right side but his second shot was the problem one. Kite hit another tree trying to advance his ball up the fairway and his third shot came to rest at the trunk of the tree.
Kite took a double-bogey on the hole and dropped another shot at the 15th but Watson three-putted from 25 feet at the 15th to drop the two into a tie for the lead.
At the 16th, Kite collected a birdie to go ahead by one but he was matched by Morgan and Purtzer at 18.
Morgan needed eagle at 18 to tie Kite and he took aim at the stick with his 3-wood approach that rolled four feet past the hole.
Full-field scores from the SBC Senior Classic