• New Zealand’s Lee rules Greenbrier

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    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS: New Zealand’s Danny Lee defeated David Hearn on the second playoff hole to capture The Greenbrier Classic and claim his first USPGA Tour title on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

    Lee fired a closing round three-under 67 to finish at 13-under 267 to set up a four-man playoff with Canada’s Hearn (67) and Americans Robert Streb (65) and Kevin Kisner (64) in the $6.7 million event.

    “All I can say is wow,” said Lee after two-putting on the second playoff hole for the win. “It feels amazing. I was so close a lot of times this year and I finally did it.

    “Now I understand what winning on the PGA Tour feels like.”

    Tiger Woods showed signs of returning to form Sunday by firing a three-under 67—his first bogey-free round since August 2013. Woods finished tied for 32nd, six strokes back of the leaders.

    Lee and Hearn both sank 20 foot putts to make birdie on the first playoff hole—the par-three 18th — where Streb and Kisner were eliminated.

    The sudden-death showdown on the Old White course continued at the par-five 17th.

    Hearn landed his tee shot in the tree-lined rough and couldn’t recover while Lee—who was born in South Korea but grew up in Rotorua—reached the green in three.

    He landed a six-iron some 60 feet away from the hole and two-putted for the win.

    Lee not only earned his first US tour title but the world No. 158 will move into the top 100 when the new rankings come out.

    This was Lee’s fourth international victory as he has won once previously on the European Tour, Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.

    Heading into the final round Lee and Hearn were just one stroke off the lead on a crowded board that included 27 players within four strokes of the four 54-hole co-leaders.

    Robert Streb was the biggest surprise of the four playoff participants after he accidently broke his putter halfway through his round and had to putt the back nine with a sand wedge.

    Former world number one Woods snapped a string of 55 straight rounds with a bogey or worse—a stretch dating back to his last bogey free round at The Barclays in 2013.

    “That is the best I have hit in a very long time,” said Woods.

    Woods rolled in three birdies and had 15 pars to finish the tournament at seven-under 273.

    Woods, who entered the final round seven shots back of the leaders, said if his putting was better he would have been in contention for a title.

    “If I had just made a couple of putts this week it could have been completely different.”

    AFP

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