May 28, 2006

Maggert eases to win in Memphis

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - American Jeff Maggert ended a
seven-year title drought with a rousing finish and three-shot
victory at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on

Boosted by a 36-foot eagle putt at the 16th, Maggert fired
a five-under-par 65 for a nine-under total of 271 at the TPC at

Three off the pace overnight, the 42-year-old picked up
shots at two of the first three holes and put his third PGA
Tour victory beyond doubt by rolling in a 33-footer to birdie
the par-four 17th.

His previous PGA Tour success came at the 1999
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where he clinched the
biggest cheque of his career after starting the tournament as
the 24th seed.

"I've struggled a little bit this year and the putter has
really slowed me down," a smiling Maggert told reporters.
"Today the putter definitely helped me through.

"It's been a strange career for me but I've had a great
time playing golf out here. I would like to have won a few more
times but I've had other priorities in my life, especially my

"But I'm very fortunate I can come out here and still win
at 42."

Compatriot Tom Pernice junior, co-leader overnight,
returned a 71 to secure second place at six under with 1996
champion John Cook (71) a further two strokes back in a share
of third alongside fellow American Kris Cox (72).


Tim Herron, winner of last week's Colonial tournament and
the other pacesetter at the start of the day, battled in the
firm, fast-running conditions. He ran up two double-bogeys on
his way to a 77 and a tie for 16th at level par.

Maggert, who had missed the cut in last three PGA Tour
starts, produced the tidiest display of golf on another
difficult day of scoring at Southwind.

An outward nine of one-under 34 earned him a share of the
lead with Cox and he was the only title contender to negotiate
the treacherous closing stretch without a bogey.

Although six players had been within a stroke of the lead
before Maggert reached the turn, he tightened his grip on the
tournament with a birdie-two at the 11th followed by a run of
four consecutive pars.

He reached the green in two with a superb iron from 260
yards at the par-five 16th and stretched his cushion to three
by holing the monster putt.

Maggert's fourth birdie of the day at the difficult 17th
allowed him a stress-free walk down the last.

Twice winner David Toms carded a 71 to finish in a tie for
10th at one under, two ahead of defending champion Justin
Leonard, after a 73.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles)