Birdie putt lifts McNulty past Purtzer

Don Pooley was eliminated after the first playoff hole.
CONCORD, Mass. (AP) -- Mark McNulty learned to play golf in Zimbabwe, where the greens were made from sand mixed with engine oil and they needed to be raked of footprints.
That helped the reigning Champions Tour rookie of the year develop one of the best putting touches on the 50-and-over circuit. So when McNulty lined up a 14-foot birdie putt Sunday on the second playoff hole of the Bank of America Championship, he was confident.
"When you smell something, when a great player smells something, when Tiger or Phil smells a win ... you want to make the putt so much that you're going to make it," McNulty said after earning $240,000 for his first victory of the year. "I never thought about missing it."
McNulty made his putt and Tom Purtzer missed from a little bit closer to lose despite holding the second-round lead for the second consecutive year at the par-72, 6,728-yard Nashawtuc Country Club. In the final round last year, Purtzer made double-bogey on No. 17 to blow a four-stroke lead.
"Seventeen hasn't done me any favors," Purtzer said of the 166-yard par 3. "It's a different year. You really can't put much stock in what's happened in the past. But it is getting frustrating."
Playoff streak
It was the fourth consecutive Champions Tour event to end in a playoff, with Don Pooley shooting 65 -- the day's best round -- to join Purtzer and McNulty at 12-under 204. Pooley was eliminated when he bogeyed the first hole, No. 18, but the other two parred the 521-yard par 5 that they had birdied five of six times in regulation.
"It's pretty sad not to make par on the par-5 in the playoff to keep playing," said Pooley, who had two birdies and a par before the playoff on the easiest hole on the course.
The course was then cleared because of the threat of thunderstorms, but the rain never came and play resumed about an hour later with the two remaining golfers on the 17th tee. McNulty put his tee shot on the green and was happy to be away.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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