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Sunday, May 15, 2005
Thorpe, Hatalsky par first playoff hole

Associated Press

MILTON, Fla. -- Jim Thorpe and Morris Hatalsky parred the first hole of a playoff Sunday night before play was suspended because of darkness in the Champions Tour's Blue Angels Classic.

They are scheduled to resume play at 8 a.m. CT on Monday.

"Right now we need some headlights," Hatalsky said. "We need the cars all around this green in order to see what was going on."

Thorpe, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the FedEx Kinko's Classic in Lakeway, Texas, forced the playoff with a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation.

Thorpe closed with a 3-under 67 and Hatalsky had a 66 to complete 54 holes at 16-under 194 on the Moors Golf Club course. Two rain delays -- for a total of 4 hours, 18 minutes -- left time for only one extra hole in near darkness.

"The weather conditions got very, very tough for us," said Thorpe, who played alongside Hatalsky in the final round. "We talked about it early today, 'Let's just try to separate ourselves from the field.'"

Don Pooley (63), Fuzzy Zoeller (64), Peter Jacobsen (65) and Tom Jenkins (66) tied for third at 13-under. Craig Stadler, tied for third after matching the tour record with a second-round 60, shot a 70 to tie for ninth at 11-under.

Hatalsky and Thorpe each had late chances to win.

Hatalsky missed a birdie putt for the victory by a couple inches on the final hole of regulation, and Thorpe's birdie putt on the first extra hole -- also the 18th -- stopped just short of the hole.

Hatalsky, in the top 10 for the fourth straight tournament, had a two-stroke lead after 14 holes. Thorpe birdied No. 16 to cut the lead to one and pulled even with a par on No. 16 after Hatalsky bogeyed the hole. Hatalsky rebounded with a birdie on the 17th, and Thorpe forced the playoff with his birdie on the 18th.

Thorpe, seeking his 11th Champions Tour title, is 2-1 in playoffs on the 50-and-over tour after losing his lone playoff on the PGA Tour. Hatalsky, 2-1 in extra holes on the PGA Tour, is in his first playoff on the Champions Tour.

The tour's single-round scoring record fell for the third straight day when the field averaged 68.051 Sunday. The 54-hole scoring average of 68.175 was also a record, breaking the mark of 69.442 set in the 1997 tournament.