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'Aggressive golf' costs Russ Cochran at Outback Pro-Am

LUTZ — Russ Cochran is sure to have nightmares about TPC Tampa Bay's par-5 14th hole.

Holding a two-shot lead over John Cook at 12 under, Cochran decided this was his chance to nail down a win. If he could hit his second shot close to the pin and make eagle on 14, certainly that would deflate Cook and, essentially, end the tournament.

Instead, Cochran blocked his 3-wood left and hit it into a retention pond. His next shot nestled next to the greenside bunker. The lie was so bad, he could hit only a hybrid club, and it scooted over the green.

When he finally found the hole, Cochran had triple-bogey 8. To make things worse for him, Cook birdied the hole.

It was a four-shot swing that put Cook up two shots.

"I was thinking that I needed to play some aggressive golf," Cochran said. "I had a little uphill lie and had a chance to get it deep into the green. I tried to put the heat on (Cook). I hit a poor shot and sprayed it off left. Then my pitch shot was a horrible lie; no way I could get a wedge on it.

"After that, I was just sleepwalking on the way in. I tried to get it back, but the disappointment was there."

Cochran had an outside chance of catching Cook on the 18th hole, but his second shot on the par 4 caught the edge of the water hazard. He double bogeyed to shoot 3-over 74 for the round, missing the playoff by two strokes and finishing tied for third at 7-under 206

Cochran said he won't lament his decision.

"My rule of thumb out here is that if you make a mistake being aggressive, you can live with that," Cochran said. "You can never make a mistake being passive or weak-minded."

Thinking about home: Joe Ozaki spent the past four weeks trying to get his house outside of Tokyo back in shape. The house, which is in sight of Disneyland, was damaged in the Japanese earthquake. Ozaki said his family is okay, but living conditions are still not ideal.

"We had no water access for a week," he said. "We had to stay in a hotel near Tokyo. It was bad."

While Ozaki is still thinking about home, he didn't seem to let it bother him this week. He was 7 under for the tournament and finished tied for third. He shot 3-under 68 Sunday, tied for the day's low round with Corey Pavin and Craig Stadler.

"I played here the past two years and played poorly," said Ozaki, who will return to Japan for two weeks after playing in three more Champions Tour events. "This year, I played differently. I played safely and went for the greens instead of the pins. You can hit it in the water easily if you go for some of the pins."

Odds and ends: Jim Thorpe tied for 59th in his first start since serving a one-year sentence for tax evasion. … Scott Hoch, out for more than a year due to injuries, finished tied for 25th. … Olin Browne posted his fifth top-10 finish in as many starts, finishing tied for seventh. He has 15 consecutive subpar rounds.

'Aggressive golf' costs Russ Cochran at Outback Pro-Am 04/17/11 [Last modified: Sunday, April 17, 2011 8:44pm]
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