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Mark Wilson Wins 2011 Waste Managment Phoenix Open

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Mark Wilson edged out Jason Dufner on the second playoff hole to take top honors, and a $1,098,000 check, at the 2011Waste Management Phoenix Open. For Wilson, two is a charm. Remarkably, he won two of the last three tournaments that he entered, putting him in first place for two vital categories. He topped the Money List with $2,098,700 in earnings, and he’s listed first in the race for the Fed Ex Cup with 1,008 points.

Wilson’s win was accompanied by a fair amount of drama. Despite birdying No. 18 in each the first three rounds, on his fourth try he took an overly aggressive line to the left, barley carrying the water hazard before coming to rest in a fairway bunker. He made par from there to force a playoff, and it was back to the 18th tee. Perhaps overcompensating for slight tug minutes earlier, Wilson drove it into a bunker on the other side of the fairway. Again, he saved par. In the end, Wilson slammed the door on Dufner with a birdie at No. 10. He is now 2-0 in playoffs, with his first coming in 2007 at the Honda Classic.

“The playoff was fun,” said Wilson. “Hit a bad tee shot as you’d probably expect. Hit the first one left; got to make sure not to make that mistake again, so I hit it right. Made par with a two-putt from a mile away. That was an easy putt on 10. Just thankfully I started it on line and knocked it in.”

Wilson and the rest of the field overcame unusually cold weather that resulted in frost delays during the week. In fact, the Wednesday pro-am was cancelled due to frozen turf. First time that’s ever happen at the Phoenix Open. Tour officials delayed Thursday’s round by four hours, and the guys played catch up until they finished all 72 holes on Monday. Last time that happened was in 1971 when Miller Barber won at Arizona Country Club.

Other players on the first page included Vijay Singh, who finished T3 on his way to his first top-10 finish since a T9 at the 2010 AT&T National, and his best showing since his win at the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship. Scottsdale resident, Martin Laird, closed with rounds of 64-65 to finish T3. It was his third top-3 finish in his last eight starts. And Journeyman, Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, held the lead for a time before fading into a tie for eighth place.