DiMarco Wins Pennsylvania Classic

Monday, September 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PAOLI, Pa. (AP) — Chris DiMarco is glad the PGA Tour returned to Pennsylvania after a 20-year absence.

DiMarco shot a 2-under 69 Sunday to win the inaugural Pennsylvania Classic by six strokes and earn his first victory on the tour in 159 career starts.

``It's all about winning,'' said DiMarco, who had two second-place finishes this year. ``Winning is it out here. It's the greatest feeling. It's what you hit those extra balls for on the range.''

DiMarco finished at 14-under-par 270.

Scott Hoch shot his best round of the tournament, a 65 that included 4-under on the back nine, to finish in a five-way tie for second at 8-under 276.

Chris Perry (70), Brad Elder (70), Jonathan Kaye (71) and Mark Calcavecchia (72) also finished at 276.

The tournament was missing many of the big names, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, as none of the top seven money-winners competed.

DiMarco got off to a quick start on the Waynesborough Country Club course and distanced himself from the group. He eagled No. 3 to take a four-stroke lead over the fast-charging Kaye, who birdied Nos. 1 and 2.

DiMarco nailed an eight-iron 143 yards directly into the hole for his only eagle of the tournament. He shrugged his shoulders in disbelief as the gallery roared.

``It was right at it. I heard a clank and I didn't know if it hit somebody or went in,'' DiMarco said. ``It was awesome. It was extremely lucky, but it's where I was aiming.''

Calcavecchia, Loren Roberts and Frank Lickliter, who each entered the last round three strokes behind, struggled early and never threatened.

Roberts closed with a 74 to tie for eighth at 278. Lickliter, who went 48 holes without a bogey, bogeyed three of his first four holes and six on the front nine. He finished with a 76 to tie for 12th at 280.

Calcavecchia missed a putt for birdie on No. 18 that would've given him sole possession of second place.

``Chris deserved to win. It was his day,'' Calcavecchia said. ``It was obviously a difficult day for me. I never seemed to get in rhythm.''

DiMarco bogeyed No. 4 and No. 9 to stay even as he made the turn. He got his first birdie of the afternoon with a 6-foot putt on No. 12, and added birdies on the 15th and 18th to shoot in the 60s for the fourth straight day.

``The first win is the hardest. I'm really glad I had a five-shot lead on the final hole,'' DiMarco said. ``I never got out of my comfort zone.''

The last PGA Tour event to be held in Pennsylvania was the IVB Philadelphia Classic in 1980. The tournament will alternate between the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas each year, with Waynesborough and Laurel Valley in Ligonier as venues.

Divots: Hoch birdied Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 16 to move up from 23rd on the final day. ... Roberts, coming off a solid round of putting Saturday, missed short putts for birdie on No. 2 and for par on the next two. ... DiMarco takes home $576,000 of the $3.2 million purse. ... Grant Waite, who finished second behind Tiger Woods at last week's Canadian Open, had a 71 to finish in a tie for 33rd at 284. .... Brian Claar shot a 10 on the par-3 14th hole to ruin a solid round and finish with a 74. ... DiMarco is the ninth first-time winner on the PGA Tour this year.