McCullough edges North for Emerald Coast crown

Associated Press
Sunday, March 25

MILTON, Fla. -- Mike McCullough beat Andy North on the first hole of a playoff Sunday in the Emerald Coast Classic, his second Senior Tour title in a month.

McCullough two-putted for par on the par-4 18th hole in the playoff, while North narrowly missed a 20-foot par putt after hitting his tee shot into a bunker.

McCullough, who won the Mexico Senior Classic on Feb. 25 for his first victory in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since becoming a touring pro in 1973, earned $210,000.

"This was a different kind of win," McCullough said. "When I won Mexico the lead wasn't really mine until the last few holes. This time I was in a position to have the lead a good part of the day. If you don't have good blood pressure it can rise."

McCullough and North shot 5-under 65s for 10-under 200 totals on the Scottish-style course at The Moors Golf Club in the Florida Panhandle.

Jim Ahern finished third, closing with a 70 for a 203 total.

John Schroeder, the leader after each of the first two rounds, and Jose Maria Canizares tied for fourth at 204. Schroeder, who began the day with a one-stroke lead over Ahern, faded on the final round with a 72.

McCullough and North began the final round three strokes behind Schroeder and two back of Ahern.

Although disappointed in losing the playoff, North said he was on the right track after joining the Senior Tour last year following a long layoff from competitive golf.

"I really didn't play golf for 15 years, and last year was sort of paint by numbers," the two-time U.S. Open champion said. "I wasn't able to get rid of the numbers under the art projects I was working on."