Dennis Paulson survived his second straight playoff in the Buick Classic, beating David Duval with a 4-foot par putt on the fourth extra hole Sunday.
Paulson, a first-time PGA TOUR winner who lost to Duffy Waldorf on the first playoff hole last year, made his par putt after Duval missed a 5-footer for par on the par-4 17th. Paulson set up his winning putt with a 40-foot chip from the deep rough.
"It definitely feels a whole lot better coming in here this year than it did last year," Paulson said in the interview room.
"It will be nice to go to play in the U.S. Open next week and be a little more part of story instead of just another golfer teeing off."
After the players parred the first two playoff holes, Nos. 18 and 17, they matched birdies on the 18th -- with Duval holing a 40-foot uphill putt and Paulson making a 4-footer.
The tournament was decided in a playoff for the third straight year and the ninth time in the last 16 years. There have been 11 playoffs in the event's 34-year history. Paulson closed with a 3-under-par 68 on the demanding Westchester Country Club course, holing a curling 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole for an 8-under total of 276.. Duval, playing three holes behind Paulson, finished with a 69.
Sergio Garcia, the 20-year-old Spanish star who birdied his last hole Friday to make the cut, followed his third-round 65 with a 68 to finish a stroke back. Greg Norman shot a 67 to finish fourth at 278.
Duval, winless since the BellSouth Classic early last season, had a chance to win in regulation following a 47-minute delay because of lightning, but missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th.
When play resumed after the suspension, Duval hit his second shot through the green into the deep rough.
"I don't think there should have been a playoff," said Duval, who quickly left the course to travel to Pebble Beach. "I played great this week, but this happens in golf. My game is strong for the U.S. Open."
Paulson, the leader after the first two rounds, overcame a third-round 75. The former national long-driving champion had five birdies in a six-hole stretch beginning with No. 6 to reach eight under. He offset a bogey on No. 14 with his birdie on No. 18. Duval birdied Nos. 5, 6 and 9 to make the turn at eight under, and took advantage of a fortunate bounce on No. 11 for his fourth birdie. His tee shot strayed to the left, but struck a tree and bounced into the fairway. He then hit a 7-iron to about 8 feet. After a bogey on No. 12, he parred the next six holes.
Garcia had the lead at 10 under after 10 holes, but dropped two strokes on the par-4 11th after failing to pull off a high-risk shot from deep in the woods. Instead of chipping to the fairway, Garcia attempted to hit a 5-iron shot under the trees and into the greenside bunker, but struck a branch on his backswing and left the ball in the deep rough well short of the green.
"I thought I could do it, but I hit a bad shot," said Garcia, who made an amazing recovery shot from between two roots last year in the final round of the PGA Championship.
Garcia backed off his eagle putt on No. 10 after he was distracted by a photographer and had a run-in with a spectator on his way to the 11th tee. "He said, `You're a loser,"' Garcia said. "That probably caused me to lose some concentration, but I still hit a bad shot."
Ernie Els, the 1996 and 1997 Buick Classic winner, finished three back along with Jesper Parnevik, Joey Sindelar, John Cook and Chris Perry. Parnevik shot a 68 while Els, Sindelar, Cook and Perry shot 72s.