Kendall edges Claxton in Louisiana Open sudden death

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March 25, 2007
By John Bush PGA TOUR Staff

BROUSSARD, La. -- Sunday was a long time coming for Skip Kendall. The 17-year veteran of the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour posted a 1-under 70 during the final round of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Dynamic Industries, finishing the event tied with Paul Claxton at 16-under 268 and then draining a six-footer for birdie on the third extra hole for the victory.

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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
SKIP KENDALL'S FINAL STATS
Category Total Rank
Eagles 1 T3
Birdies 17 T24
Pars 51 T9
Bogeys 3 T79
Double Bogeys 0 N/A
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 78.8% T1
Driving Distance 290.5 yds. 57
Greens in Regulation 72.2% T21
Putts per Round 27.5 T6
Putts per GIR 1.731 30
Sand Saves 80.0% T9

"I've been around long enough to know that if you hang around long enough something good will happen," said Kendall. "I struggled early but hung in there and made some big birdies down the stretch."

None were bigger for Kendall than a six-footer for birdie on the par-3 16th hole, followed immediately by a 20-footer on the par-4 17th hole to pull one shot ahead of Claxton (65) and Jarrod Lyle (68) at the time. Claxton, who was seeking to become the tournament's first two-time winner, answered with a 22-foot birdie putt on the final hole to set up the extra session. Lyle, a 2006 Tour graduate and on hiatus from the limited-field World Golf Championships-CA Championship on the PGA TOUR, had a chance to join the playoff but painfully watched as his 25-foot birdie attempt on the final hole slid just by the hole.

"Paul was telling me at lunch earlier this week that he had been struggling with his game," said Kendall. "I told him on the tee box of the first playoff hole that he had obviously found it. Hats off to him because he played great this week."

By stepping into the winner's circle, Kendall snaps a streak of 384 starts without a victory in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event (340 PGA TOUR and 44 Nationwide Tour starts). His two Nationwide Tour wins came during the 1994 season at the Inland Empire Open and the Carolina Classic, with the latter occurring on June 26 -- resulting in a Tour-record span of 12 years, eight months and 27 days between victories.

"It has been a long time," said Kendall, a 42-year-old native of Milwaukee, Wis "My eight-year-old son (Noah) has been walking by the trophy case for a long time, wondering if the things in there were fake or if I bought them somewhere. I promised to bring home a big one one day. So this sure feels good."

An avid fan of the Green Bay Packers, Kendall has flirted with victory on several occasions during his lengthy winless streak. The most recent of his four PGA TOUR runner-up finishes (three of which came in playoffs) came at the 2004 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, falling on the first extra hole to Phil Mickelson.

"It was definitely on my mind," said Kendall, referring to his lack of success in playoffs. "All three playoffs that I lost on the PGA TOUR came on par-5 holes ... so to win on a par 5 was pretty ironic."

With the victory, Kendall collects $90,000 and moves to No. 4 on the Tour money list. It also moves him a step closer to regaining full status on the PGA TOUR after finishing No. 157 on the TOUR money list in 2006.

"Obviously winning early on this Tour is a great start to the season," said Kendall. "I'll play a lot out here this year and hopefully get my PGA TOUR card back by being in the top 25 on the money list."

Final-Round News & Notes: Prior to Skip Kendall's win on Sunday, the previous longest span between victories on the Nationwide Tour was 10 years, 8 months and 17 days by Franklin Langham in between his wins at the 1993 Permian Basin Open and the 2004 Rheem Classic ... 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, playing in the Tour's 48-49 year-old category, finished his first Nationwide Tour start in 30th place ... Four players began the day with a chance to finish the week with four sub-70 rounds, but Jason Schultz (69-68-69-69) was the only one to pull it off ... The scoring average for the final round was 69.963, while the cumulative average for the week was 70.531 ... Skip Kendall joins Scott Sterling (Jacob's Creek Open) as players who have been successful in carrying the 54-hole lead on to victory this season. He becomes the sixth 54-hole leader in 14 attempts to win the Chitimacha Louisiana Open (72-hole events only) ... The Nationwide Tour heads to California this week for the second-annual Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship. Tripp Isenhour claimed the inaugural tournament by three shots over Paul Sheehan.

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