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Age no factor but daylight is as Hoch wins Doral playoff

A life of senior discounts is fast approaching, as is the reality of children in college. Scott Hoch knows that time is running short on his PGA Tour career, and he isn't about to rush it.

Hoch made the wait worth it Monday morning, draining two birdie putts in his suspended sudden-death playoff with Jim Furyk to capture the Ford Championship at Doral, the 11th victory of his 24-year PGA Tour career.

At age 47, Hoch is not sure how many more chances he will get.

"You always wonder if it's the last," said Hoch, who won $900,000 from the $5-million purse and now has gone over $1-million in earnings for eight straight years. "But when you get into your 40s, and upper 40s, it has to creep in your mind. Sure, it creeped in my mind. I said am I good enough to win now?

"I just go out there. I'm not concerned about it, because I go out there and play as hard and as good as I can every week. Just you wonder with all of the talent we have out here, all of the young talent coming up, gosh, it's getting harder and harder."

Yet Hoch gets better and better. For all the talk of young stars, Hoch is the 12th-ranked player in the world, just one spot behind the man he defeated, Furyk, 32, who has seven PGA Tour victories.

Hoch left the Doral Resort's Blue Monster course early Sunday evening to the sound of boos and chants from golf fans who wanted a conclusion to the tournament. Television lights made it appear brighter than it was at approximately 6:30, when Hoch said he could not see well enough to attempt his birdie putt on the second playoff hole.

Turns out, he made a good decision. His caddie, Damon Green, read the putt one way, Hoch another. Monday morning, faced with a 9-footer for birdie to resume the playoff, Hoch saw it differently. "He was right," Hoch said. "That's why I pay him the big money. I mean, last night it might have broken left, but (Monday) morning it broke right."

Furyk followed by making his 6-foot birdie putt to extend the playoff to a third hole, the par-4 18th, which both players parred on Sunday when it was the first extra hole.

Hoch won when he holed a 7-foot birdie putt.

Furyk ultimately was doomed by his driver. In the playoff, he pulled all three tee shots, twice hitting into waterside sand off the tee at the 443-yard, par-4 18th. Sunday, he hit his approach over the green and got up and down for par. Monday, from a similar spot on the beach, he hit his approach to 25 feet and two-putted for par. Even on the second playoff hole, the par-5 first, he pulled his drive into the rough, but still made birdie.

"I wish I would have driven the ball better in the playoff," Furyk said. "I hit three pathetic drives. To make the pars and a birdie from where I drove it was good. That's been the strength of my game all week. It failed me down the stretch. It's something I have to work on for next week. There is not much I could do about it. I played my heart out. It's disappointing."

Hoch became the oldest player to win on the PGA Tour since Tom Watson won the Colonial in 1998 at 48. A lucrative career of senior golf awaits, but Hoch is hardly thinking about that. As he proved again, he can still compete at the game's highest level.

"To be able to hit some of the shots and putts when you need to, it feels great," he said. "I hope I can apply that later in the year when I get in this same situation."

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