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Lehman's errors give Pernice win

Published Sep. 29, 2005

"It must be Christmas," Tom Pernice Jr. exclaimed as a Buick executive handed over a check for $432,000 and the Buick Open trophy.

In fact, his biggest gifts came on the back nine Sunday, when Tom Lehman needed five more strokes than Pernice on holes 13-15, then missed two birdies on the last two holes to lose the tournament by one stroke.

"I feel very fortunate and very lucky," said Pernice after earning his first PGA Tour victory. "For Tom to hit the good shots that he hit on 17 and 18 and for both of those putts not to go in is very fortunate."

Pernice picked up five shots on Lehman on the back nine, all of them on holes 13, 14 and 15.

Lehman, who started the day with a four-stroke lead, had a tough stretch that started with a bunker shot skulled into a pond on No. 13. Lehman took his penalty drop and two-putted for bogey. Pernice eagled the hole.

Lehman then made a disappointing par after nearly driving the 14th hole and failing to get up and down for birdie.

A bogey-free final round brought Pernice in at 18-under 270. Lehman finished a stroke back, along with Bob Tway, who also fired 65. Ted Tryba had 66.

AREAWEB.COM CHALLENGE: Mardi Lunn earned her first title when she shot 67 to beat Jan Stephenson by one stroke and lead an Australian sweep in Sutton, Mass.

Stephenson, 47, who hasn't won a tournament in almost 12 years, also shot 67 on the day for 276 and her best finish since 1995. Fellow Aussie Rachel Heatherington, also 5 under on the day, was at 277 to round out the top-three sweep.

Starting the day at 8 under, Lunn birdied the second, third and fifth holes before saving par with a lucky bounce off a tree near the sixth fairway. She dropped back to 10 under with bogey on No. 8, then birdied the 10th and 13th to improve to 13 under and hold off Stephenson's charge.

Dottie Pepper shot 69 to finish in fourth place at 10 under, three strokes back. Jane Crafter (70), Lorie Kane (72) and Beth Daniel (71) tied for fifth.

SENIOR LONG ISLAND CLASSIC: Bruce Fleisher continued his impressive rookie season, shooting 1-over-par 73 to win by two strokes in Jericho, N.Y.

Fleisher's 10-under 206 gave him his fifth title of the season and moved him past Hale Irwin on the money list. Fleisher, who nearly missed his starting time for the second round, avoided disqualification on the final hole by calling the penalty on himself after he putted without returning his mark to its original place.

Allen Doyle closed with 5-under 67 and was at 208.

Joe Inman had 4-under 68 to lead the group tied for third and was joined by Raymond Floyd, who had 69, Jim Thorpe and Jose Maria Canizares, who had 70, and Tom Shaw, who had 71.

SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS: Scotland's Colin Montgomerie completed a nine-stroke victory in Barsebaeck, Sweden, closing with 3-under 69 in European PGA play.