Wiebe beats Mason in playoff at Greater Hickory Classic|
Conover, NC (Sports Network) - Mark Wiebe two-putted for par on the third
playoff hole Sunday to beat James Mason and win the Greater Hickory Classic.
Wiebe and Mason both closed with seven-under 65s to end at 19-under-par 197.
They returned to the par-five 18th for the first playoff hole. After they both
made birdie putts from a similar spot, the horn sounded for a weather delay.
After an hour wait, the duo returned to the 18th again. This time they both
made par, and it was off to the 17th at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
Wiebe and Mason both hit the green on the par-three, but Wiebe was much
further away. He rolled his birdie effort five feet past the cup, then Mason
ran his four feet by the hole.
Wiebe converted his par-saver, but Mason's par putt broke across the hole and
missed on the left edge. The win for Wiebe was his third on the Champions
"I'm thrilled to win, but sad it ended that way because that didn't seem the
right way to end," Wiebe said on television.
Mason, who on Monday qualified to get into this event, was playing in his
first Champions Tour tournament of the season.
"I played as well as I know how to play. For me to shoot 19-under par, with
some of my putting being weak, I had a great week," Mason said in a television
interview. "I hated that it ended like that."
Fred Funk, who will compete in the U.S. Open next week, fired a 10-under 62 in
the final round to share third place with Chip Beck (66) at minus-18.
Wiebe and Mason were both chasing Funk, who birdied six of the first eight
holes to jump to 14-under.
Around the turn, Funk carded four more birdies in a six-hole stretch to jump
to 18-under. He dodged a few bullets when others couldn't match him there, but
Wiebe and Mason not only matched him, they went by him as well.
Wiebe, in the penultimate threesome, poured in three straight birdies from the
third. After a par on No. 6, Wiebe birdied the seventh and eighth to get
within one of Funk at minus-17.
The 53-year-old Wiebe parred the first five holes around the turn. He tied
Funk with a birdie on the 15th, then birdied the par-five 18th to finish first
Mason opened with a birdie on No. 1, but didn't collect his next birdie until
the sixth. He followed with another birdie on No. 7. Mason had three birdies
in a five-hole span from the 12th to match Funk.
The 61-year-old Mason two-putted for birdie on the 18th to join Wiebe in the
"I thought he'd make it," Wiebe said in a television interview of Mason's
eagle effort on the 18th. "He shot 62 in the qualifying to get into this
tournament and he was making shots everywhere."
NOTES: Wiebe earned $262,500 for the victory...Kenny Perry also fired a 10-
under 62 Sunday to match Funk for low round of the day...Last year's winner,
Gary Hallberg, closed with a 67 to share 52nd place at minus-eight...In two
weeks, the tour heads to New York for the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, where
Loren Roberts won last year.
06/13 11:36:28 ET