Sigel rallies from 10 back

March 07, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

OJAI, CALIF — OJAI, Calif. -- As he prepared to tee off yesterday morning in the final round of his fourth Senior PGA Tour event, Jay Sigel had no thought of winning.

In all professional golf history, nobody had overcome more than a seven-shot deficit on a final round and Sigel trailed Jim Colbert by 10.

But 5 1/2 hours and 22 holes later -- including four playoff holes -- Sigel had his coveted first victory, at the GTE West Classic.

The previous senior comeback record was from seven strokes behind on the final day, set by Rocky Thompson this year. The regular tour's biggest comeback was eight shots -- Chip Beck (1990), Hal Sutton (1985) and Mark Lye (1983).

"I was looking to shoot 65 and hopefully finish in the top 10," Sigel said.

With Colbert having a miserable time with his putter and Sigel shooting a course record-tying 62, they finished 54 holes at 12-under 198.

Colbert had been 14-under, a record-breaking 126, for 36 holes.

Sigel won the playoff with a four-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.

Sigel, for the last 20 years recognized as the best amateur golfer in the world, said he didn't even think about winning until the 16th hole. He was playing about an hour ahead of Colbert.

"I decided I should go all-out," Sigel said, "but I still thought Colbert would birdie 18, the easiest hole on the course, and win it. I couldn't stand sitting around waiting, so I went to the practice tee."

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