Paulson Earns First Career Victory at Buick Classic

Published June 12th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Dennis Paulson waited 15 long years for a moment like this. 

The 37-year-old Californian calmly sank a four-foot par putt on the fourth playoff hole Sunday at the $3 million Buick Classic to outlast David Duval and capture his first career PGA Tour title. 

Exactly one month after the birth of his son Ethan, Paulson took home the first-prize check of $540,000. He redeemed himself after losing in a playoff to Duffy Waldorf here last year. 

The payday raised Paulson's career earnings to $2,343,186 and enabled him to climb into the top 30 on this year's money list. He became this year's sixth first-time winner. 

"The second time's the charm," said Paulson. "I really don't know what to say. I'm ecstatic." 

Duval, the world's second-ranked player, gave Paulson an opening when his five-foot par putt lipped out. It was another disappointing finish for Duval, who has not won on Tour in more than 14 months. 

Duval has been placed in the top five for the fifth time this year, but he has not won since capturing the BellSouth Classic last April for one of his four titles in 1999. 

Paulson, who set up his winning putt with a 35-foot chip from just off the green, promised to return to the Westchester Country Club next year to defend his title. 

After leading the tournament at the midpoint, Paulson ballooned to a 76 on Saturday and trailed Waldorf by two shots heading into the final round. But he regrouped to shoot a 68 and forced the playoff at 276 by holing a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole. 

Duval carded a 69 after beginning the day in a group of seven players who were one shot behind Waldorf. 

Spain's Sergio Garcia also shot a 69 and finished one stroke off the pace, climbing from 60th to a tie for 12th by shooting a 65 on Saturday.  

Greg Norman finished fifth at 6-under, one shot ahead of five golfers, including two-time Buick Classic champion Ernie Els, who struggled to a one-over 72 - (AFP)

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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