|Maggert Beats Magee, Wins The Million|
|by Martin Olivera|
Jeff Maggert won the Andersen Consulting World Match Play
Championship with the $1 million first price by defeating Andrew
Magee in the final 38-hole match. Both players were all-square
after the 36-hole stipulated round, and Maggert chipped-in on the
11th hole -- the second playoff hole -- to win the match, the
million and the "Walter Hagen Trophy".
Andrew Magee hasn't won on TOUR in the past five years -- since the 1994 North Telecom Open-- and Jeff Maggert hadn't won in the past five and a half years -- 1993 Walt Disney Classic, his only TOUR win. Their bios in the media guide are, conveniently today, next to each other. At the end of the day today, Maggert had played 127 holes in this tournament, and Magee 126. And that's where the similarities end.
They both came out this morning for one more match, the one for the championship, the 36-hole marathon. But each player had a different motivation. "I like money," said Magee yesterday after his semifinal win. "Money is the motivating factor in this tournament. A million dollars for the first place guy, it's a big deal," added Magee. Yesterday too, after winning his semifinal match againt Steve Pate, Maggert said: "($1 million) is a lot of money. It's more money than I've ever won in a single season on the TOUR ... but it's really insignificant, I think, to me at this point right now. Winning the golf tournament is going to mean a lot more to me than the million dollars. I want the victory a lot more than a few more dollars in the bank account". It can't be more clear than that.
They went off at 7:20 this morning for the first 18 holes and both players traded punches through the first six holes. Maggert won the first two holes, Magee the next four, and then the 8th to go 3-up after nine. "I started really hot this morning and had four birdies on the first nine holes, and being 2-down early, had nice momentum going. If it was a nine-hole tournament, I might have won. But I had 27 more to play," said Magee. Maggert won #13 and #14 with a birdie and a par to go only 1-down and momentum seemed to change. But Magee responded with a birdie on #15, and both players went in for lunch with Magee 2-up.
The afternoon round was also bloody through the first six holes. After halving the first hole with pars, Magee won the par-5 second hole with a birdie to move to 3-up, but Maggert birdied the next two, and parred #5 -- Magee made bogey after driving it into the water -- to win three in a row, even the match, and change the momentum. But when he bogeyed #6 the match was again 1-up Magee, after 27 holes. "Obviously the #10 was a huge hole," said Magee. "He hit his drive in the right rough, hit a good second, ran it up to the middle of the green, and made the putt from 30 feet, after I had a really good 7-iron to about 11, 12 feet and missed the putt". Magee took the lead again with a birdie on #12, only to see it disappear on #13, when Maggert made birdie from 13 feet. "I struggled all day with 5 and 6 footers, but I feel comfortable in the 12-15-foot range," said Maggert. They halved every hole till the end. Maggert had a good chance to win the match right there on 18th. He hit a 7-iron to 15 feet and the putt for the win didn't go in. "That putt on 18th gave me extra confidence," said Maggert. "When I hit a putt on line it gives me confidence, even if I miss".
Unlike the only other match of the week to go to extra holes -- Romero beat Norman in 21 holes on Thursday, with extra holes starting on the first hole -- the playoff started on #10, which was parred by both players. And then Maggert chipped in on #11, from behind the green with a sand wedge from 25 feet. The ball had pace but fell in on the right edge. "It's the biggest win in my career, no doubt, with the top-64 players (in the world) in the field," said Maggert. "It gives me confidence. I can finish second again and it's OK," he added.
Maggert has had 12 second-place finishes since 1993, the most on TOUR. "I wasn't giving tournaments away. Always someone did something good to beat me. I knew in my heart I was going to win again," said Maggert. Well, at least he won't have to listen to his 10-year-old son ask him "Dad, how come you can't win?" anymore. When the dust settled this afternoon he was the only one standing, with the $1 million in his pocket and, most importantly for him, the trophy and the win. With this win, Maggert earns a 3-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, 150 Ryder Cup points, and moves to the top of the 1999 money list, with $1,296,060.
John Huston beat Steve Pate 5&4 in the 18-hole consolation match. Huston pocketed $400,000 and Pate $300,000 as 3rd and 4th place finishers, respectively.