Ames takes play-off victory

Stephen Ames has won the Disney Classic after triumphing in a three-way sudden death face-off with George McNeill and Justin Leonard.

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MIAMI // Stephen Ames won the Disney Classic on Sunday after triumphing in a three-way sudden death play-off with George McNeill and Justin Leonard at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Leonard was close to winning on the final hole of regulation play, but his 16-foot birdie putt spun out of the cup. Then he was eliminated at the first play-off hole. That left Ames, who had grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on the 18th for an eight-under round of 64, and McNeill to go head-to-head on the par three 15th.

When McNeill failed from four feet with the ball spinning out, he handed victory to Ames, who had made par. The win was his fourth on the PGA Tour. "It's unfortunate for George," said Ames. "He played very well this season losing twice in two play-offs. It's just a matter of time before he breaks through. He's a good player. "The year was average. This just kind of adds up a little better, more to where I should be."

The disappointment was bitter for McNeill, who lost in a play-off in Las Vegas last month and had the best putting record of any player at Lake Buena Vista. Britain's Justin Rose, who had shared the third-round lead, could only manage four under on Sunday and ended up a shot off the lead along with Australia's Nick Hern. Another of the third-round leaders, Sweden's Matthias Gronberg, finished sixth after shooting a three-under 69.

Menawhile, Tom Watson will be able to go on playing in the British Open beyond next year's championship. An entry category has been introduced for the 2010 Open which exempts from qualifying any past champion who finished in the top 10 and ties in any of the previous five Opens, effectively providing them with a five-year exemption. * Reuters