Perry, Hoch Dominate Merrill Lynch Shootout

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- Kenny Perry and Scott Hoch held off J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley to win the Merrill Lynch Shootout on Sunday.

Perry eagled No. 17 for the second day in a row, making a 15-foot putt that matched Weekley's 18-footer to keep him and Hoch up four shots with one hole to play in the scramble format.

The eagle came one hole after Perry made an 8-footer for birdie after Hoch missed, keeping the duo comfortably ahead.

"Obviously, that was big," Hoch said. "That pretty much took any chance unless we just fell on our face."

Weekley and Holmes, teammates with Perry on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, started the final round of the $2.9 million, 54-hole event trailing by four. They got to three back after birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 and an eagle on the 14th. Weekley had a birdie putt roll around the cup and come back at him on No. 15.

"If that would have gone in, then there could have been a little something there," Hoch said. "I know I would have felt a little something."

Perry and Hoch build birdied Nos. 16 and 18, and eagled No. 17 on Saturday to build a four-shot lead. Perry made eight birdies and an eagle on his own ball in the better-ball format, and followed it up with another strong round while Hoch battled a bothersome left wrist.

"Kenny is probably the best player right now playing," Weekley said. "Granted, he was here with us, but if he was in a regular tournament, he'd have been hard to handle this week."

The 48-year-old Perry, who won the tournament in 2005 with John Huston, split $730,000 with Hoch.

The 53-year-old Hoch became the oldest to win the event in its 20 years. Raymond Floyd was 51 when he won it with Steve Elkington in 1993.

Founder Greg Norman and Camilo Villegas had the lowest round of the tournament with a 15-under 57. They finished third at 25 under. The 57 was two off the tournament record, held by three teams. Norman and Steve Elkington shot a 57 in 2005.

Teams played modified alternate shot in the first round, and better ball in the second round.

Fred Funk withdrew with a knee injury prior to Sunday's round. Ian Baker-Finch replaced him, and played with Chris DiMarco, but the team officially was withdrawn, and finished last. DiMarco said he and Baker-Finch shot 9 under.

Defending champions Woody Austin and Mark Calcavecchia shot a 10-under 62, after playing the first two rounds in even par.


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