Maggert wins for first time since 1999

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Jeff Maggert won the St. Jude Classic for his third PGA Tour title and first since 1999, closing with a 5-under 65 on Sunday for a three-stroke victory over Tom Pernice Jr.

Maggert, who began the round three strokes back, sealed his first victory since the 1999 WGC-Accenture Match Play by rolling in a 36-foot eagle putt on the par-5 16th for a three-stroke lead.

“I would’ve bet I would’ve won more times by now,” Maggert said. “With five kids at home, I have a lot of other priorities that are important to me in my life. It’s just great I can come out here and do this … and still fortunate I can come out and win at the age of 42.”

He had four birdies, a bogey and the eagle in the final round to finish at 9-under 271 on the TPC at Southwind.

Pernice, who started Sunday tied with Tim Herron for the lead, shot a 71. John Cook, who won here at 26 under in 1996, closed with a 71 to tie for third with Kris Cox (72) at 4 under.

Herron, trying to join Phil Mickelson as the only players to win consecutive tournaments on the tour this year, had a pair of double bogeys and finished with a 77 to fall into a tie for 16th at even-par 280.

Maggert came into this event having missed his last three cuts and his best finish a tie for eighth in Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January. He had been struggling with his putter, but that club helped him win Sunday with no birdie closer than 6 feet, with the longest a 33-footer on the par-4 17th that padded his lead.

The final round started with Pernice and Herron tied at 7 under, and eight players within four strokes. Herron promptly bogeyed his first hole, starting a wild afternoon.

When Cox bogeyed No. 7, he fell into a five-way tie atop the leaderboard with Herron, Pernice, Jay Delsing and Cook.

Herron first fell off the pace with a double bogey on the par-4 seventh when he hit his tee shot into thick rough left that forced him to hit out left onto a tee box for No. 2. He hit his third onto the green but three-putted.

Cook then bogeyed No. 10 and fell back to 5 under.

Maggert birdied the par-3 11th with an 8-footer and went to 6 under. Pernice, two groups back in the final pairing, made it a three-way tie again with an 18-foot birdie putt that rolled on the right edge and around the back before finally falling in.

Cox, playing in only his 39th PGA Tour event with his best finish a tie for 18th here in 2004, dropped back with a bogey on No. 13.

That left Maggert and Pernice tied at 6 under, with Cook, Cox and Delsing a stroke back. Maggert finally emerged as the lone leader when Pernice bogeyed the par-3, 225-yard 14th.

Pernice left his tee shot just short of the green, 87 feet short of the pin tucked far right behind water. His second came up 9 feet short and two-putted for bogey. He talked with rules officials about his putter touching the ball on address, but was not penalized because he didn’t advance it.

Divots: This was Maggert’s 187th event since his last victory. … Cook’s tie for third was his best finish here since his 1996 victory. He hadn’t finished higher than a tie for 29th since then.

AP-ES-05-28-06 1822EDT

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