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14-year drought ends for Sindelar

He beats Oberholser in playoff to win Wachovia

Fourteen years and 370 tournaments removed from his last victory, Joey Sindelar made it worth the wait yesterday in the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, N.C., with an improbable rally and a playoff victory over fast-fading Arron Oberholser.

Sindelar, 46, birdied two of the last three holes, waited for Oberholser to wilt, then polished him off with a par on the second extra hole for his first victory since the 1990 Hardee's Classic. His $1.08 million prize was more than he had earned in any of his 20 previous seasons on the PGA Tour.

"I never, ever gave up hope," Sindelar said. "This feels way too good. It's a thrill. It will take me a while to understand this is real."

Two shots ahead with three to play, his first PGA Tour victory firmly in his grasp, the pressure overcame Oberholser. He bogeyed the next two holes and needed a brilliant recovery from the trees on No. 18 just to force the playoff. Sindelar closed with a 69, while Oberholser had a 72. They finished at 11-under 277.

Tiger Woods, errant as ever, gave himself a chance with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 17th and nearly chipped in for birdie on the 18th. He closed with a 68 and joined Carlos Franco one shot behind. Franco had a 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole that caught the right lip. He shot 70.

Phil Mickelson had a bogey-free 67, the best round of the day, to finish in a tie for fifth.

Vijay Singh held out hope for a third consecutive victory and got within one shot of the lead with an eagle on the 15th, but a bogey-double bogey finish dropped him into a tie for 10th, four shots back.

Oberholser appeared to have it locked up, and when his 5-wood into the 15th hole stopped 8 feet away, setting up an eagle, he pumped his fist with passion.

But the finishing holes can expose the slightest nerves, and Oberholser was loaded with them.

LPGA -- Se Ri Pak played it perfectly, staying mostly off the radar for three rounds and then shooting a 6-under 65 to win the Michelob Ultra Open in Williamsburg, Va. Pak finished with a 9-under 275, passing five players in the final round to post her 22d career tournament victory and earn the final point she needed to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame.

The 26-year-old South Korean, in just her seventh season on Tour, just needs to play three more years on the Tour to solidify her spot in the Hall of Fame. Hall members are required to play at least 10 years on Tour.

Four shots off the pace at the start of the day, Pak birdied three of her first five holes and responded to a bogey at the par-4 sixth with three more birdies in the next five holes to take the lead outright.

Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, who shot 67, and third-round co-leader Lorena Ochoa, who shot 71, finished tied for second at 7 under.

Michelle Wie, 14, competing for the third time this season, closed with a 1-over 72 and finished in a tie for 13th. She had two early birdies, four consecutive bogeys starting at No. 9, an eagle on the par-5 15th, and a bogey at No. 18, where she three-putted from the fringe.

Annika Sorenstam finished in a tie for eighth at 282 after a 71.

Champions -- Larry Nelson charged from the pack to win the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Austin, Texas. Nelson, a two-time runner-up this season, started the final round three strokes off the lead and rallied with three birdies on the back.

His round of 5-under 67 (7-under 209) was good enough to hold off Bruce Lietzke (69) by one stroke at The Hills Country Club.

European -- Barry Lane won his first title in nine years, shooting a 6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory in the British Masters in Meriden, England. He finished at 16-under 272, followed by Eduardo Romero (69) and Angel Cabrera (67). Patrik Sjoland (69) was next at 276.

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