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Finally, Green hits paydirt

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Associated Press
July 28, 2009
— Nathan Green looked up and flashed a wry smile when the latest round of heavy rain hit the Canadian Open.

But instead of wiping out play again and possibly forcing yet another day at drenched Glen Abbey, the pounding drops were nothing more than a fitting finishing touch on his breakthrough playoff victory over Retief Goosen.


“It’s just been a bizarre week. A long week,” Green said.


An hour earlier Monday in good conditions on the course soaked by nearly 5 inches of rain the first four days, the Australian parred the second extra hole for his first victory in 112 career PGA Tour starts.


“It’s a huge surprise to finally win,” said Green, the 34-year-old former Canadian Tour player from Toronto—Toronto, Australia, that is. “This is where I started my pro career. I love coming up here. The people are great.”


After missing a 12-foot birdie attempt on the par-4 17th on the second extra hole, Green won when Goosen’s 8-foot par try slid right.


“I’m not too disappointed,” Goosen said. “I had my chance.”


In sunny conditions, Green completed a third-round 69 with an eagle on the par-5 18th and shot a 68 in the fourth to match Goosen at 18 under. Goosen three-putted the 18th for par in his morning 67, then eagled the closing hole in the afternoon for a 69.


Goosen had a putt to win on 18 on the first extra hole, but missed a 6-footer after leaving his bunker shot above the hole. Green saved par after his second shot bounced off a cart path, landing near the scoring trailer above the green.


“I dodged a bullet,” said Green, who also saved par on the 18th to force the playoff after hitting over the green and into the crowd.


Goosen had his fourth straight top-six finish worldwide. After tying for 16th in the U.S. Open, the 40-year-old South African was third in the BMW International in Germany, tied for sixth in the Scottish Open and tied for fifth in the British Open.


Anthony Kim (66-73) and Jason Dufner (70-73) tied for third at 14 under, a stroke ahead of Lee Janzen (70-67), Brandt Snedeker (67-68) and Madison’s Jerry Kelly (72-71).


Stephen Ames (72-67) and Chris Baryla (70-66) were the top Canadian finishers, tying for eighth at 12 under. Mike Weir (69-71) tied for 24th at 10 under.


“It’s a relief to get it over with. Finally,” Ames said.


Green won for the second time in Canada, following a 2000 victory in a Canadian Tour event in Sudbury. He also won the Queensland PGA in Australia in 2000 and took the European tour’s 2006 New Zealand Open.


The playoff also was the second of his PGA Tour career. In the 2006 Buick Invitational, he was eliminated on the first extra hole, and Tiger Woods went on to beat Jose Maria Olazabal on the second hole.


“I was definitely a bit calmer today than I was then,” Green said.


Green earned $918,000 to jump from 132nd to 43rd on the money list with $1,282,017, and also received a tour exemption through 2011.


“That’s huge for me,” Green said. “It’s just such a buzz for me to be able to turn the year around so dramatically. That’s more than I thought I could have done.”



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