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McRoy surges to victory over faltering Micheel

ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Get ready Huntsville, Ala., the McRoys are
going to have another bell-ringing celebration and it should be the
best one yet.

Spike McRoy came from seven strokes behind Sunday to dart past
Shaun Micheel and win the B.C. Open by one stroke over Fred Funk.
It was the 34-year-old McRoy's first PGA Tour victory.

His father, Robert McRoy Sr., has a pole in his backyard in
Alabama with a bell on top. After every tournament win in Spike
McRoy's golf career, another engraved plaque is nailed on the pole
and, with family and friends present, the bell is rung to celebrate
the achievement.

"It's going to be really cool to see that one go up there,''
McRoy said. "I know he'll be very proud.''

There are other plaques on the pole marking the Alabama Open,
the two Hooters Tour tournaments and the two Buy.Com Tour events
McRoy won.

But nothing can match the PGA Tour title, nor the improbable way
McRoy won it after he started Sunday so far behind Micheel.

"It's just a funny game like that, you know?'' McRoy said.
"It's so hard to put four solid rounds together, whether you're at
Bethpage, the hardest golf course I've every played, or a very
scorable course like this.''

McRoy closed with a 7-under 65 on the En-Joie Golf Club course
for a 19-under 269 total.

Micheel, who also was seeking his first PGA Tour win, bogeyed
the last two holes to fall out of a tie with McRoy and into a
five-way tie for third at 17 under.

McRoy rolled in a twisting 31-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole
to tie Micheel, who started the day at 19 under with a three-shot
lead over Paul Gow.

At the same time, Micheel was falling from 19 under to 18 under
when he dribbled a shot out of a greenside bunker on the par-3 14th
hole and bogeyed. It was the first time since the second round that
Micheel had not had at least a share of the lead.

Micheel climbed back into a tie with McRoy with a birdie from 7½
feet at the short par-4 16th. But Micheel was just over the green
on the 185-yard, par-3 17th. After chipping within 3½ feet, Micheel
pulled his par putt left and never hit the cup.

Needing a birdie to tie, Micheel hit his tee shot on the par-4
18th into the trees right of the fairway, lined his second shot
into rough left of the green and could not get close with his chip
for birdie. He bogeyed to fall out of second place.

Micheel's 74 followed rounds of 65, 65 and 67. He declined to be
interviewed afterward.

McRoy watched his friend's round unravel on television in the
press room.

"It was just absolutely miserable,'' McRoy said. "The most
miserable thing about it is I'm watching a buddy of mine that's not
having a good day. Here we are, we're battling it out for a golf
tournament. Shaun's a great dude and we've played a lot of golf
together.''

McRoy's best previous finished in a PGA Tour event was a tie for
third in the 2001 Kemper Open.

He had struggled this year, his second consecutive on the PGA
Tour, winning $116,954 in the four out of 12 tour events he
previously made the cut in. He earned $378,000 with his win Sunday,
plus a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

"If you win, you take care of a lot of problems, that's for
sure,'' he said.

McRoy's final round included seven birdies and 11 pars. He made
only two bogeys over his final three rounds.

Funk, the 1996 winner, also finished second in 1999.

Others tied with Micheel for third at 17 under were Brian
Henninger, Robert Gamez, Glen Day and Cliff Kresge, who shot a
near-record 10-under 62 Sunday.

Kresge, the Buy.Com Tour's leading money winner, had an eagle,
eight birdies and no bogeys. He was one shot off the tournament
record of 61, which is shared by Hal Sutton (1995) and Funk (1999).

"I certainly thought a score like this was out there,'' said
Kresge, playing in his first PGA Tour event of the year after
losing his card in 2001. "The greens were soft. They were very
receptive to shots.''

Divots: McRoy became the 10th first-time winner on the PGA Tour
this year ... The largest previous final-round deficit overcome by
a B.C. Open winner was five strokes by Hal Sutton in 1995 and Brad
Faxon in 1999 ... Kresge started the round tied for 41st and
improved 38 places in the final round. ... New York Gov. George
Pataki presented the winner's trophy to McRoy. It is in the
likeness of one of the B.C. comic strip characters created by
Johnny Hart, an Endicott native. ... Gow, playing the final group with Micheel, shot a 73 to tie for eighth.