McNulty wins play-off thriller

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It took four extra holes and a curling 30 foot putt to do it, but Mark McNulty finally triumphed at the Principle Charity Classic.

It took four extra holes of sudden death and a curling 30 foot putt to do it, but Mark McNulty finally triumphed at the Principle Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday.

To win his seventh Champions Tour title, the 55-year-old McNulty had to come from behind with a closing five-under 66 for a 10-under 203 that matched the finishing totals of overnight leader Nick Price (68) and Fred Funk (66) and then win the sudden death play-off.

Birdies by Funk and McNulty, who like Price, learned his golf in Zimbabwe but is now an Irish citizen, eliminated Price at the second extra hole before McNulty finally won after two more drama-packed holes.

At the third McNulty nailed a difficult putt for par from the fringe fully expecting Funk’s much easier birdie putt for the title to find its mark.

It didn’t – and Funk threw his putter in the air in exasperation.

He might well have done the same on the next extra hole, the fourth, but didn’t, when his tough putt for birdie slid by only to see McNulty nervelessly step up and nail a tricky left to right 30 footer that nobody would have guessed he would get.

Did he feel any pressure?

“Not at all,” said McNulty afterwards.

“Fred had already putted. I knew the line, I had the pace, I had nothing to lose. It’s not like I had a six-footer. There’s more pressure on a six-foot putt.”

Earlier McNulty had rallied from two strokes down in regulation with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes while Price who had slipped out of his overnight lead, joined Funk and McNulty in the playoff with a birdie at the last.

Their four-hole battle was the Champions Tour’s longest since Bernhard Langer beat Jay Haas in seven holes in the 2008 Toshiba Classic. It also made NcNulty the first overseas winner of this nine-year-old tournament.

ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 71):

203 Mark McNulty (Irl) 68 69 66 (McNulty won at fourth play-off hole), Nick Price (Zim) 68 67 68, Fred Funk 68 69 66
205 Mark Wiebe 68 68 69
206 David Eger 69 69 68
207 Bruce Summerhays 72 67 68, Tom Jenkins 72 68 67, John Cook 70 73 64, Tom Kite 68 70 69, Loren Roberts 71 70 66, Morris Hatalsky 72 70 65
208 Joey Sindelar 69 67 72, Jeff Sluman 68 71 69, Mike Reid 72 66 70
209 Phil Blackmar 71 71 67, Jay Don Blake 70 71 68
210 Gene Jones 72 69 69, Jim Colbert 70 72 68, Jay Haas 72 67 71, Larry Nelson 68 71 71, Bob Gilder 72 70 68, Lonnie Nielsen 67 72 71, Jerry Pate 70 72 68
211 Craig Stadler 72 67 72, Hal Sutton 70 68 73, Tom Wargo 75 69 67, Bruce Vaughan 67 74 70, Brad Bryant 71 69 71, Dan Forsman 71 70 70, Hale Irwin 70 69 72, Tim Simpson 68 70 73
212 Gary Hallberg 69 73 70, Mark W Johnson 73 69 70, Ken Green 71 71 70, John Harris 72 67 73
213 Denis Watson (Zim) 72 72 69, Tom Purtzer 72 73 68
214 Gil Morgan 71 73 70, Keith Fergus 70 68 76, John Morse 70 74 70, Vicente Fernandez (Arg) 70 72 72, Bobby Wadkins 74 73 67
215 Bruce Fleisher 68 73 74, Bruce Lietzke 72 71 72, Jim Thorpe 72 71 72, Allen Doyle 75 71 69
216 Robert L Thompson 69 74 73, Mike Goodes 73 73 70, Wayne Grady (Aus) 73 73 70
217 Russ Cochran 74 68 75, Ben Crenshaw 70 76 71, Joe Ozaki (Jpn) 74 73 70, Olin Browne 67 73 77, Ronnie Black 68 74 75, Sandy Lyle (Sco) 74 71 72, Leonard Thompson 74 70 73
218 Dick Mast 76 72 70, Fuzzy Zoeller 70 71 77, Ian Woosnam (Wal) 69 76 73, Mark James (Eng) 72 72 74, Dave Stockton 73 73 72, Blaine McCallister 71 75 72
219 Chip Beck 71 75 73, Tim Conley 73 74 72, Graham Marsh (Aus) 74 74 71, Tom McKnight 73 73 73
220 James Mason 72 75 73
221 John Adams 74 73 74, Mike Hulbert 74 71 76
222 Ken Schall 73 73 76, Mike San Filippo 77 71 74, Steve Thomas 70 76 76
223 Walter Hall 76 71 76
224 Dave Eichelberger 75 75 74
227 Mike McCullough 76 77 74
228 Isao Aoki (Jpn) 75 74 79

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