SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Chris DiMarco keeps finding ways to win. The latest method is one he would rather not repeat.
His four-stroke lead turned into a one-stroke deficit in just three holes Sunday afternoon in the Phoenix Open, and DiMarco had every reason to pack it in. Instead, the collapse became a gritty comeback, with a little help from Kenny Perry.
"This one, I kind of had to hold on," DiMarco said.
That's what got him into this mess in the first place.
DiMarco closed with a 2-under 69 for this third PGA Tour victory in as many years, this one worth his largest paycheck ($720,000) and an exemption into the U.S. Open.
It was far from routine.
With birdies on four of his first nine holes, DiMarco built a four-stroke lead and was cruising along the TPC of Scottsdale until he made the final round more exciting than it needed to be.
Of course, he wasn't alone.
Perry, who had a 70 to finish one stroke behind with Kaname Yokoo (64), could have wrapped it up had he not missed an 18-inch putt on No. 13 and taken four shots from about 100 feet to get in the hole on No. 17.
John Daly had his chances, too, tied for the lead after three holes until turning into the "Wild Thing" off the tee and dropping five shots over his next seven holes. He finished strong and tied for fourth, along with Lee Janzen (64).
For DiMarco, the final eight holes looked too easy.
"It's hard to have a four-shot lead, because I'm an aggressive player, and it's hard for me just to aim for the middle of the greens and try to two-putt," he said.
DiMarco had a hard time, all right.
His drive on No. 11 went under a tree, leading to double bogey. His tee shot on the par-3 12th went left into a bunker for another bogey. Perry holed a 20-foot putt for birdie, and suddenly was tied for the lead.
DiMarco's next drive went in the water, giving him another bogey.
"Next thing I know, Kenny Perry has got an eagle putt to go 3-up on me," DiMarco said.
Then, it became Perry's turn to fold. The eagle putt stopped 18 inches from the cup, and Perry pulled the short birdie putt to the left.
"That really killed me," Perry said. "I missed a gimme."
It brought new life to DiMarco, who realized he only had to make up one stroke over a closing stretch of holes where birdie opportunities are plentiful. He wasted no time, hitting into 15 feet for birdie.
Perry reclaimed the lead with a birdie on the 15th, and then DiMarco pulled even during a bizarre exchange on the 16th.
His 8-iron into 18 inches left him a simple birdie putt, but as he stood over the ball, the fan screamed, "Noonan!"
That's a famous line from the movie "Caddyshack," when kids are shouting as Danny Noonan tries to hole the winning putt in the caddie tournament.
They both had the same ending.
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