Jim Ahern, playing in only his seventh Senior PGA Tour event, parred the second playoff hole yesterday to beat Hale Irwin and win the $1.35 million Canadian Senior Open in Ste.-Julie, Quebec.
It was the second week in a row, Irwin, a five-time champion this year, lost in a playoff to a first-time senior winner. Tom McGinnis beat Irwin last week at the BankBoston Classic.
The 50-year-old Ahern, a qualifier whose previous best finish was 18th, won the $202,500 top prize as well as a one-year exemption from qualifying on the senior tour.
"I'm sure this is old hat for Hale but this is new hat for me, believe me," Ahern said. "When I played on the PGA Tour years ago, I wasn't very good. Now to beat Hale Irwin -- to beat the best -- is pretty special."
Ahern had a final-round 68, while Irwin, the third-round leader, had a 69. Irwin saved par after driving into the trees on the left on the first playoff hole. He was in the trees on the right on the second and then hit into a bunker.
Ahern missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole, but Irwin missed a 6-footer for par. Ahern broke into tears after making his five-foot par putt for the victory.
Ed Dougherty closed with a 67 to finish third at 273. Tom Jenkins shot a 67 and was fourth at 275, while David Lundstrom had a 69 and was at 277.
LPGA-OLDS CLASSIC: Dottie Pepper, who had struggled throughout the final round, rattled in a 35-foot birdie putt from just off the green on the 72nd hole yesterday in East Lansing, Mich., to nail down a two-stroke victory over Kellie Kuehne in the Oldsmobile Classic.
Pepper, who notched her second major with a triumph at the Nabisco Dinah Shore earlier in the season, shot a 2-under 70 for an 18-under 270 total at Walnut Hills Country Club.
"I was never completely comfortable," Pepper said after clinching the 16th victory of her career and second this season. "My belly hurts."
Kuehne, who started the day in a five-way tie for second, five shots back, finished second alone after shooting a 67. Rosie Jones and Karrie Webb, the LPGA's leading money-winner, tied for third at 13-under 275.
RENO-TAHOE OPEN: Notah Begay III, a rookie and the only Native American on the PGA Tour, earned his first tournament win with a three-stroke victory in the inaugural $2.75 million event.
Begay shot an even-par 72 in the final round, finishing at 14-under 274 at the Montreux Golf and Country Club course in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Reno, Nev. Begay, coming off his course-record 63 Saturday, held off the late challenges of Chris Perry and David Toms, who shot a 68 and 69, respectively, and finished tied for second at 277.