Jason Gore, whose last-day unraveling already is part of U.S. Open lore, stood up to the 84 Lumber Classic field in Farmington, Pa., yesterday with big drives and steely nerves to win on the PGA Tour barely a month after being stuck in golf's minor leagues.
Gore's four-stroke lead with five holes to play was down to one over runner-up Carlos Franco by No. 18, but Gore landed his approach shot on the 468-yard par 4 on the lower fringe of the green. With a playoff looming if he didn't get up and down, Gore deftly lagged his putt from 911/2 feet to within 22 inches and tapped in for a final-round 2-under-par 70, a $792,000 paycheck and the PGA Tour victory he once thought might never come.
His 14-under 274 denied Franco (69) his first PGA victory since 2001 and was three shots better than third-place finisher Ben Crane (67).
Gore never finished higher than 18th in two previous stays on the PGA Tour, in 2001 and 2003. Now, he joins Paul Stankowski (1996) as the only golfers to win on the developmental Nationwide and PGA tours in the same year. . . .
Annika Sorenstam closed with a 2-over 73 and withstood a late charge from rookie Paula Creamer to win the John Q. Hammons Classic in Broken Arrow, Okla., for the second straight year and third time in four years.
Sorenstam made 15 straight pars to start the final round and overcame bogeys on two of the last three holes to finish one shot ahead of Creamer at 5-under 208 for her seventh LPGA Tour win of the season. She also won a European Tour event in Sweden this year and has 64 career victories.
The 19-year-old Creamer, who paced the United States to a 151/2-121/2 victory over Sorenstam and the European team in last week's Solheim Cup, started the final round five strokes off the lead.
The rookie opened with six straight pars and closed out the front nine birdie-bogey-birdie. After three pars on the back nine, she birdied Nos. 13 and 14 to get to 5 under, but gave the strokes back with bogeys at the 16th and 17th as Sorenstam's lead reached four strokes.
Creamer, a two-time winner this year, birdied the 18th for a 2-under 69 and a 4-under total. . . .
Bob Gilder won his first Champions Tour event in more than two years, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to capture the Constellation Energy Classic in Hunt Valley, Md., by four strokes over Morris Hatalsky.
Gilder never trailed after opening with a 64 on Friday. He chipped in from 40 feet for par on the final hole to finish at 18-under 198, tying the tournament record set by Christy O'Connor in 1999.
* BOXING: Leavander Johnson had worked a long time for his big night, 16 years to be exact. His first title defense turned tragic, however, leaving the veteran boxer in a fight for his life.
Johnson, 35, was in a drug-induced coma yesterday in Las Vegas following emergency brain surgery he underwent just minutes after losing his lightweight title Saturday night. He was in critical condition in a hospital intensive care unit.
Doctors at first feared his condition was hopeless, but tests yesterday showed improvement in his brain and gave them hope that Johnson would survive.
Johnson's family was keeping a vigil at the hospital, where he was rushed after being stopped by a flurry of punches in the 11th round of his IBF lightweight title defense against Jesus Chavez at the MGM Grand.
The $150,000 he made was his biggest payday in a career that began in 1989, but Johnson paid dearly, getting hit by more than 400 punches, many of them clean shots to the head.
* TENNIS: Rafael Nadal cranked up his game after losing the first set, beating Guillermo Coria, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, to win the China Open in Beijing on a noisy, festive night for his 10th title this year. . . .
Lindsay Davenport overpowered Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 6-2, 6-4, to win the Wismilak International in Bali, Indonesia.
* RUNNING: Olympian Deena Kastor set an American women's record for the half marathon with a time of 1 hour 7 minutes 53 seconds in the 28th annual Philadelphia Distance Run.
Kastor, 32, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., eclipsed the previous mark of 1:08.34 established by Joan Benoit Samuelson at the event in 1984. It's the second of Benoit Samuelson's major records to be broken by Kastor. Two years ago, Kastor set the U.S. mark in the marathon.
* STEEPLECHASE: Patty Stovel and Shandor 41 had the only fault-free performance within the allotted time to beat 32 other contenders and win the $75,000 American Gold Cup in Devon, Pa.
Allison Firestone of Upperville, Va., and her mount, Intrepide du Valon, were flagged for four faults but took second place in 1:11.13.
-- From News Services