LOS ANGELES -- Kirk Triplett is such a likable guy he unwittingly took what little drama came from the 2000 Nissan Open. When the second-place guy is rooting for the leader, it kind of removes the edge.
Triplett had a four-foot par putt on No. 18 to win the tournament Sunday. What seemed like a forgone conclusion a couple of holes earlier now had a little drama to it after Jesper Parnevik holed a 24-foot birdie putt to pull within a stroke of Triplett.
A miss for a bogey would mean extra holes and an extra chance for Parnevik.
''I wanted to be in the playoff,'' Parnevik said, ''but I couldn't help hoping he would make the putt.''
How couldn't you pull for the guy who had never won in 265 previous PGA Tour events?
Triplett has been driving, pitching and putting for money since 1985.
On the PGA Tour he kept doing just well enough to keep getting invited back. He had 39 top 10 finishes and has finished in second place five times and made more than $4 million.
Triplett has won before, but the type of tournaments he captured were far from the limelight, in places like Taiwan for $18,000 first prizes.
This is the big show, a loaded field at Riviera Country Club, with $558,000 going to the winner.
When the dream finally came true, when the putt rolled in, he thrust a fist skyward.
His face bore a look of disbelief, and he looked as if he didn't quite know what to do next.
He did know what he felt.
''A lot of relief,'' Triplett said.
After Tiger Woods went bogey-bogey-bogey on holes 7-9 to kill his chances at victory, the fans started streaming for the exits so quickly it looked like Dodger Stadium in the seventh inning.
There was plenty of grass visible on the hill that forms the natural amphitheater behind the 18th green. Many of the fans still standing around as the final group drew closer were there only because the marshals wouldn't let them leave while the earlier groups putted out. When guards did drop the ropes, the fans left by the dozens.
By the time Triplett gave his victory speech there were more volunteers and sponsors hanging around than fans.
That didn't stop Triplett from savoring the moment.
He kissed the winner's trophy ''It's cold,'' he noted. He continued to hold it aloft while the photographers clicked away. ''You don't know how heavy this is,'' he said.
Fleisher wins GTE Classic
LUTZ, Fla. (AP) -- All golfers would like to have Bruce Fleisher's problems.
Fleisher won his ninth Senior PGA Tour title in just over a year Sunday, closing with a 2-under-par 69 for a 4-stroke victory in the GTE Classic.
''I really haven't played well since Day 1 this year,'' Fleisher said after his second victory of the year. ''It's nice to struggle and still win. I can't wait until I'm hitting the ball good again.''
Fleisher withstood a challenge from Dana Quigley, who cut a 5-stroke deficit at the start of the round to just one with a birdie on No. 14. But a bogey on No. 15 and a double-bogey on No. 18 -- after his tee shot went in the water -- ended Quigley's hopes.
''He made a good fight of it,'' Fleisher said. ''He didn't make a bad shot until 15. With a 5-shot lead, I struggled and I fought. I didn't know whether to keep the pressure on or not.''
Fleisher, who earned $195,000, had a 13-under total of 200 on the TPC of Tampa Bay. He is averaging $81,135 in 36 senior starts.
''I'm struggling to believe that I'm doing what I'm doing,'' said Fleisher, who had just one victory in 408 events on the PGA Tour. ''Maybe I should be more confident now.''
Quigley picked up $114,400 for his runner-up performance.
''I think he proved he's still the sheriff in town,'' said Quigley, who finished with a 68. ''I applied a lot of pressure, but he was just better today.''
Fleisher had only one bogey in the tournament, on the fourth hole Sunday. It came when he three-putted from 90 feet.
''He's probably a terrible Christmas person,'' Quigley joked. ''Bruce doesn't give many gifts back. I'm playing well, so I'm not disappointed.''
Hale Irwin (69) and Jim Dent (70) tied for third at 6-under 207, and John Mahaffey (73) followed at 209.
Tom Watson tied for eighth at 211, topping the three high-profile senior newcomers in the field. Tom Kite (214) tied for 20th and Lanny Wadkins (218) tied for 40th.
Jack Nicklaus closed with a 71 to tie for 14th at 213. Arnold Palmer finished tied for 68th at 224 after a final-round 75.
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