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Kirk Triplett wins again at Pebble Beach

AP - Sports
Kirk Triplett wins again at Pebble Beach
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Kirk Triplett tees off on the 18th hole during the final round of the 3M Players Championship golf tournament …

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Kirk Triplett successfully defended his First Tee Open title Sunday at Pebble Beach, closing with a 4-under 68 for a two-stroke victory over Doug Garwood and Dan Forsman.

Three strokes behind leader Tom Lehman entering the round, Triplett finished at 11-under 205 for his second career Champions Tour title. Last year, the three-time PGA Tour winner overcame a four-shot deficit.

''Last year was a dream come true to win for the first time at Pebble Beach,'' said Triplett who had a bogey-free final round and seven consecutive birdies on par 5s in the last two rounds. ''To do it again, I am a bit overwhelmed. Last year, I was just so excited. This year, I am almost teary-eyed.''

Garwood, a Monday qualifier making his fourth career start on the 50-and-over tour, and Forsman each shot 69. Lehman was fourth at 8 under after a 74.

Triplett held two-shot advantage over Garwood, Forsman and Lehman with three holes left, but had to scramble. He hit his tee shot into the rough on the par-4 16th and saved his par after chipping to 2 feet.

Triplett hit his tee shot on the par-3 17th into a bunker, and saved par again to remain two shots ahead.

''I had a couple of unfortunate breaks,'' Forsman said. ''I bogeyed eight, which is likely because it's such a difficult hole and that took some of the wind out of my sails. But I had a couple of birdies on the back nine to stabilize things, and I am pleased with the way I played.''

After an opening round 67 at Del Monte, Triplett followed with a second-round 70 at Pebble Beach. He had only three bogeys in the tournament.

''I've played the 20 AT&T and 20 Callaway events and a couple of U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach,'' Triplett said. ''I knew it would be a dogfight. But I just have a great affinity for the place.''

Triplett earned $280,000 in the $1.8 million event.

Bernard Langer opened with a 63 at Del Monte, then shot consecutive 74s to finish eighth at 5 under.

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