Beem Holds Off Charging Lowry In International
by John Mossman
CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (AP) ? Rich Beem carded seven birdies and made a critical eagle on the 17th hole to hold off a furious rally by Steve Lowery and claim The International on Sunday.
Beem, playing the last six holes gingerly because of a back that stiffened up during a weather delay, had a 19-point round for a total of 44 points under the modified Stableford scoring system used in this event.
Beem beat Lowery by a single point for his second career victory. In his final five holes, Lowery had a rare double eagle, an eagle and a birdie.
Lowery holed out a 6-iron from 200 yards on the par-5 17th for a double-eagle 2, gaining 8 points and cutting the deficit to 1.
Beem parred the 18th, then watched anxiously from the side of the green as Lowery, with a 10-foot birdie putt for the win, ran it just past the left edge.
"This is awesome, I'm so happy," Beem said.
"I'm really pleased with the way I played coming down the stretch," Lowery said.
The scoring system awards 8 points for double eagle, 5 points for eagle, 2 for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse.
Lowery, who won this tournament in 1994, erased almost all of Beem's 10-point lead after the weather delay.
Lowery hit his second shot into a greenside pond on the par-5 14th hole. Taking off his right shoe and sock and donning a rain suit, he blasted out to 15 feet and made birdie.
Lowery then holed out his wedge from the fairway for an eagle 2 on the 15th hole, pulling within 3 points of Beem.
Moments after Lowery bogeyed No. 16 to fall 4 points back, Beem reached the par-5 17th in two and drained the 15-foot putt for an eagle, punching the air twice with his fist.
That boosted the lead back to 9 points, but Lowery wasn't finished. His double eagle was only the third in tournament history.
The field, cut in the traditional manner after 36 holes, was cut again to the top 36 players and ties for Sunday's final round at Castle Pines Golf Club.
The leaders had six holes to play when lightning and rain caused a suspension of play for 1 hour, 11 minutes.
Several of the game's big names were in contention entering the final round, but couldn't match Beem's pace.
Greg Norman, winless since 1997, made an early run. Norman had five birdies on the front nine, at one point getting within a single point of the lead. But he bogeyed No. 10 and double bogeyed No. 12.
British Open champion Ernie Els got within 4 points of the lead but fell back with a double bogey at No. 9.
Sergio Garcia, who barely survived the 36-hole cut but who rallied into contention with a 19-point round on Saturday, faded badly.
Garcia birdied his second hole but then suffered four straight bogeys. He was never a factor, finishing at 19.
Craig Barlow, the third-round leader, took back-to-back double bogeys at the fourth and fifth holes. He fell to 22 points and off the leaderboard.
Mark Brooks, 2 points off the lead entering the final round, had four bogeys in his first 12 holes and finished at 33.
Beem, who also won the Kemper Open in 1999 and who entered the tournament ranked 46th on this year's PGA Tour money list, pocketed $810,000.
Beem birdied five holes on the front side and built a 4-point lead.
Beem, who began the day 3 points off the pace, took the lead with his second birdie of the day on the fifth hole.
Beem made the turn with a total of 35 points. Lowery was in second place with 31 points. Norman had 28 and Brooks 26.
Beem sank a 5-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole. After Lowery bunkered his tee shot on the par-3 11th and bogeyed, Beem's lead was 8 points.
He extended his margin to 10 points on the next hole, sinking a 17-foot birdie putt.
Moments later, play was halted by lightning and rain.