Love holds his nerve for victory

DAVIS LOVE sank a 30-inch putt on the final hole to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second time in three years, posting a one-shot victory over Tom Lehman.

Without a win since his success here in 2001, Love carded a final-round four-under-par 68 at Pebble Beach Golf Links and finished with a 72-hole total of 14-under 274.

Canadian Mike Weir, the winner last week at the Bob Hope Classic, tied for third with Tim Herron at 276.

Two years ago at this tournament, Love, aged 38, fired a final-round 63 to erase a seven-shot deficit and register a one-shot win over Vijay Singh to end a two-year drought.

In his final round this time he held a two-shot lead after 14 holes but squandered the advantage with bogeys on the 15th and 16th.

Trying to regain his composure, Love left his tee shot on the par three 17th short, but chipped to eight feet and sank the putt to save par and maintain a share of the lead.

Love blasted a 318-yard drive on the last, then put himself in position to win by hitting a four-iron from 220 yards to within 10 feet of the pin on the par five.

Needing two putts to win, Love was a bit too aggressive on his first attempt, sending it past the hole, but he calmly sank the return putt to claim the victory.

Playing ahead of Love, Lehman had a chance to take the lead on the 18th but missed a six-foot birdie attempt and settled for par.

Meanwhile Ernie Els’ fantastic start to 2003 has won him the European tour’s Asprey Golfer of the Month award.

While main rival Tiger Woods has been on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery Els has picked up three victories and a second place finish in four appearances - and this after finishing last season with an eight-stroke win in Sun City.

The 33-year-old South African became the first player in 14 years to lift the opening two events on the US Tour, then was runner-up in the Singapore Masters and made a successful defence of the Heineken Classic in Melbourne.

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