O'Meara makes no mistakes

 

MARK O'MEARA hardly made a mistake as he led throughout the final round yesterday on his way to a three-stroke victory at the season-opening $1 million Mercedes Championship in California.

"I played a really smart round of golf," said O'Meara, who teed off with a four-shot cushion on another delightful day.

O'Meara made just one bogey in a four-under-par 68 to collect $180,000 for his 11th US PGA Tour victory and third in the past 10 months.

The former US amateur champion finished on a 17 under par 271, while fellow-American Scott Hoch (66) and Britain's Nick Faldo (67) tied for second on 274.

Hoch, playing ahead of O'Meara, got within one stroke with three holes left, but his chances died with a bogey at the final hole.

Faldo, paired with O'Meara, moved within two strokes with eight holes remaining, but squandered a four-foot birdie chance at the par-three 11th, moments alter O'Meara had holed a long birdie.

O'Meara was delighted with his final two rounds.

"I drove the ball great and hit my irons so good," he said. "On Saturday and Sunday, that's about as good as I can play. The guys threw a lot at me and I held them off."

Faldo, winner of five major championships, was also delighted with his own form.

"I had a great week. I scored lower every day," said Faldo. "I thought 67 the last day would give Mark something to think about, but it didn't. He played great."

Faldo, who missed only five fairways the entire tournament, said he was reaping the benefits from his recent practice.

John Daly. meanwhile, propped up the elite 30-man field at 11-over 299, finishing last in this field of 1995 tournament winners for the second consecutive event.

His closing three-over 75 was his ninth successive round above par.

Daly, who has lost about 30lb in less than two months, said he was not feeling well.