Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No One Beats This Price 6-Storke Pga Victory Cements Spot at No. 1

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No One Beats This Price 6-Storke Pga Victory Cements Spot at No. 1

Article excerpt

Nick Price completed a tidy demolition job Sunday in the 76th PGA Championship.

Price won by 6 strokes over Corey Pavin at Southern Hills Country Club, solidifying his status as the best player in the world over the past two years.

He played the back nine in cruise control, otherwise his margin of victory might have been of record-breaking proportions.

Price led by 7 strokes through 10 holes. A bogey at the par-4 18th prevented him from matching Jack Nicklaus' widest winning margin in the PGA Championship. Nicklaus won by 7 in 1980.

After making the turn at 3-below-par 32 with three birdies and six pars, Price stumbled a bit on the home nine. He made three bogeys and twice had to scramble to save par.

"Obviously, I lost some of my concentration on the back nine," he said.

"I couldn't have played the front any better. I put my nose down and played the first four holes as well as I possibly could. I was 2 below par after four, which gave me the momentum I needed. I didn't have to press."

Price's 67 was 3 under par and put him at 11-under 269 for the tournament, the lowest winning score of any U.S. major championship.

Pavin strung together rounds of 70, 67, 69 and 69, finishing at 275 and earning second place for the second successive week. He lost by 2 shots to Fred Couples in last week's Buick Open.

Phil Mickelson was third, a stroke behind Pavin, after rounds of 68, 71, 67 and 70.

"Nick's in a league of his own," Mickelson said. "He would have had to fall apart completely today for any of us to have a realistic chance."

Price's first major victory was the 1992 PGA Championship in St. Louis. He defeated Nick Faldo, John Cook, Gene Sauers and Jim Gallagher Jr. by 3 strokes at Bellerive Country Club.

"The PGA Championship is special to me. It kick-started the second part of my career two years ago," Price said. "I owe a lot to the PGA."

Sunday's victory, worth $310,000 to Price, made it the first clean sweep of a year's four grand-slam events by foreign-born players.

Price, a native of Zimbabwe who lives in Florida, won the British Open last month. Ernie Els of South Africa won the U.S. Open in June, and Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain won the Masters in April.

The last American golfer to win a major tournament was Lee Janzen at last year's U.S. Open.

Price, 37, becomes the first winner of the British Open and the PGA Championship in the same year since Walter Hagen in 1924.

He is the first to win two majors in the same year since Tom Watson won the U.S. Open and British Open in 1982.

None of his closest challengers was making a bold move, and Price knew all he had to do was play the percentages and not get overly aggressive.

"I didn't want to lose my head and do something stupid," he said.

Price had such a comfortable lead, he could have taken a 10 on the par-4 18th hole and still won. …

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