Final-Round 63 Lifts Triplett to Reno-Tahoe Title

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Kirk Triplett shot a 9-under-par 63 to win the Reno-Tahoe Open at 17-under par, tying both the course and tournament records with a three-stroke victory over Tim Herron.

Triplett, who played his college golf at the University of Nevada, Reno, charged from behind Sunday with nine birdies, four in a row on the front nine, to claim only his second victory in 14 years on the PGA Tour.

Herron shot a 71 to finish second at 14-under 274, a stroke ahead of Dennis Paulson, who shot a final-round 68, and Rod Pampling, who birdied the 18th for a 69 to tie for third at 13-under 275.

Known for his patented ``bucket'' golf hat, Triplett started the day at 8-under par, five strokes behind co-leaders Herron and Craig Barlow on the 7,472-yard Montreux Golf and Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.

He withdrew from the PGA Championship a week ago with a back injury and it flared up again Saturday, when he shot a 73. But he got off to a fast start Sunday and went ahead with his sixth birdie on the 10th hole after shooting a 31 on the front nine.

The $540,000 first-place check pushes Triplett's career winnings past the $10 million mark. He dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to tie the course record of 63 that Notah Begay III set in winning the inaugural Reno Tahoe-Open in 1999 and was tied by Brian Henninger the following year.

His total of 17-under 271 for the tourney tied the mark John Cook set in winning in 2001 and was equaled last year by Chris Riley and Jonathan Kaye before Riley won in a playoff.

Triplett, 41, birdied eight of 11 holes during one stretch, including four in a row starting with a 10-foot putt for a three on the 429-yard, par-4 No. 3. He made the green in two on the par-5 No. 4 and two-putted, followed by birdie putts of 23 and 13 feet on the next two holes.

He followed a 329-yard drive on the 494-yard, par-4 10th with a 170-yard approach shot to just 2 feet for another birdie, made a 17-footer for birdie on the par-5 No. 11 and dropped another from 7 feet on the par-4 13th to get to 16-under.

He had a chance for another birdie on No. 17 when he chipped out of a greenside bunker to about 13 feet but missed the putt.

Barlow left the course with a two-stroke lead at 13-under par Saturday night when darkness forced suspension of the third round. He was still playing the 17th hole, along with Herron and Paulson.

When they returned Sunday, Herron finished his third round with consecutive birdies while Barlow went bogey-par to leave those two tied atop the leaderboard heading into the final round.

Barlow eagled the par-5 No. 4 when he hit his second shot to 9 feet from the pin and got as low as 15-under par when he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole. But he had four bogeys to go with the eagle and two birdies for a 36 on the front nine, then started the back with a bogey and a double bogey to slip back to 10-under.

He shot a 3-over-par 75 for the day to finish in a tie for sixth-place with Hidemichi Tanaka at 10-under 279, one stroke behind Harrison Frazar, who closed with a 66.

Herron birdied the fourth hole to forge a tie with Barlow at 14-under par, but failed to convert an 8-foot par putt on No. 6. He drove the ball 366 yards on the 616-yard No. 9, and hit his second shot 257 yards to the green, where he two-putted from 30 feet for a birdie, but gave the stroke back on the next hole with a two-putt bogey.

He pulled within two strokes of Triplett when he chipped in from 20 feet for birdie on the par-4 No. 13, but could get no closer.

Triplett claimed his first PGA win at the Nissan Open in 2000.

He entered the week ranked 19th on the money list with $1.3 million, finishing in the top 10 four times, including a tie for second at the Bay Hill Invitational in March.