Rachels wins Classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 7, 2002

Sammy Rachels made a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Dana Quigley to win the 2002 Bruno’s Memorial Classic at Greystone Sunday.

Rachels, who closed with a 5-under 67 to match Quigley at 15-under 201, earned $210,000 for his first victory of the season and third on the Senior PGA Tour.

Rachels holed the winning putt on the 17th hole after Quigley missed an18-footer and tapped in for par. Both players birdied the first playoff hole &045; No. 18.

Rachels raised his hands in the air an instant before his winning putt went in the hole. He pumped his right fist once as fans yelled &uot;You da man, Sammy!&uot;

&uot;It probably won’t get any better than this,&uot; Rachels said.

He went from spectacular to rock-solid, following a scorching second-round 64 with three straight birdies as the sun finally came out in a tournament delayed three times by rain.

Rachels parred the final eight holes, forcing the challengers to play catch-up,including more high-profile playing partners Larry Nelson and Hale Irwin.

The paycheck nearly matched Rachels’ earnings in 123 events on the PGA Tour ($226,796). He hadn’t finished in the top 20 in his last five tournaments.

Quigley caught the Floridian with a birdie on the 17th in regulation, hitting it in from nearly the spot where Rachels would clinch the title minutes later.

Quigley had set a Senior Tour record with his 178th consecutive start for which he was eligible.

Nelson, the second-round leader, finished one stroke back with a final-day 70.

A birdie on the 17th or 18th could have put him in the playoff, but he settled for pars.

&uot;I made some good shots coming in and just ran out of holes,&uot; Nelson said.

Irwin failed to become the first repeat winner in the tournament’s 11-year history. His final-day 70 placed him two strokes back, thanks largely to a double bogey on the par-4 12th.

Rachels birdied the first three holes, rapidly erasing a two-stroke deficit to Nelson. He never trailed again.

Quigley, who started the day three strokes off the lead, had an eagle on the par-5 second hole