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Stricker triumphs in playoff

STEVE Stricker kept his cool in a nerve-jangling finish to win his fifth PGA Tour title in a playoff with fellow American Steve Marino and South African Tim Clark at the Colonial Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday.

The former world No. 3 sealed victory with a birdie at the second extra hole, hitting a superb eight-iron approach to four feet and calmly sinking the putt.

Clark, bidding for his maiden title on the US circuit, was unfortunate that his own approach struck the flagstick before bouncing back 22 feet from the cup from where he two-putted for par.

Marino's victory hopes effectively ended when he pulled his tee shot behind trees in the left rough and then pulled up short of the green with his second shot before making bogey.

The trio had finished the 72 regulation holes on 17-under 263, overnight leader Clark bogeying the last for an even 70 while both Marino and Stricker closed with 68s.

Stricker, who had chipped in from behind the green to birdie the par-four 17th in regulation, was delighted to birdie the same hole to triumph for the first time since the 2007 Barclays Classic.

"This means a lot," the 42-year-old said after celebrating victory by pumping his fist before removing his cap to acknowledge the crowd.

"It's always tense coming down the stretch, the final few holes of a tournament when you are in contention. This feels really good."

He picked up the winner's check for US$1.116 million.

In Ash, England, Christian Cevaer, languishing 196th on the money list, claimed a shock triumph at the European Open on Sunday.

The 39-year-old ended a five-year wait for his second tour victory with a closing two-over 74 which completed a seven-under total of 281.

On another sun-baked day, tricky winds again made life difficult for the players and there were only three sub-70 scores.

Spain's Alvaro Quiros (72) and Briton Steve Webster (71) had chances to join Frenchman Cevaer on 281 but bogeyed the water-lined 18th, one of the most difficult par-fours, to finish joint second with Webster's compatriot Gary Orr (71).

"This is a fantastic day for me. I am ecstatic to come out on top," 2004 Spanish Open champion Cevaer said, after picking up a check for 341,000 euros (US$477,200).

It was the biggest payday of Cevaer's career and clinched a five-year tour exemption.

Victory for Cevaer, who like world No. 1 Tiger Woods went to Stanford University in California, lifted him to 30th in the money list.

Sharing fifth spot on 283 were Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Britons Stephen Dodd and Chris Wood.


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