Sports Outside the Beltway

Daniel Chopra wins first PGA Tour event of 2008

We’re barely into January but professional golf has begun for 2008.

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AFP) – Sweden’s Daniel Chopra won the season-opening PGA Mercedes-Benz Championship with a birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole to edge American Steve Stricker.

Chopra and Stricker both finished at 18-under-par 274 Sunday before the Swede hit a tap-in birdie on the fourth playoff hole for his second career PGA Tour victory.

Chopra posted a seven-under 66 while Stricker shot a sizzling nine-under 64 to earn a spot in the playoff.

Stephen Ames shot 66 to finish third at 17-under and his Canadian compatriot Mike Weir, who entered the final round with a one-shot lead, finished fourth at 16-under 276 after a 70.

Chopra, who was ranked 130th in the world coming into the Mercedes, picked up 1.1 million dollars and a Mercedes-Benz sports car for the win. His win also earned got him a trip to the Masters.

This was Chopra’s 2nd win in his last three PGA Tour events dating back to 2007. As the tournament was played in Hawaii, it was televised in the unusal early evening hours. In the end I stayed up till 10:45 to see the conclusion.

The men are underway for 2008 and will play at the Sony Hawaiian Open next weekend. I have to wait another month yet for the LPGA Tour to begin play.

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