Men's ACI: Sanchez holds off Norman to win

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By Mike Cote

Almost exactly 10 years to the day after his last win at the Atomic City Invitational, Lee Sanchez had one of his finest performances at the event.

He would need it.

Jason Norman came back from three holes down with six to play in the 27-hole final of the ACI to force sudden death Sunday.

After some of the biggest clutch shots the tournament has seen, Sanchez’s gap wedge shot on the first playoff hole proved to be the biggest.

Sanchez clanked his shot from the left rough 75 yards out off the flagstick, with the ball coming to rest within 18 inches of the cup.

He casually dropped his ensuing putt to win his third Atomic City title.

The ACI is the premier event of the season at Los Alamos Golf Course. This year, 124 players took part, the largest field in four years.

“I got lucky,” Sanchez said of the shot that finally put Norman away after a gutsy match. “I had an opening. My ball was sitting pretty good. I saw where Jason was and he had a tough chip.”

On the first sudden death hole, played on No. 1, Sanchez and Norman drove within about 20 feet of each other into a cluster of trees.

Norman, who was away, hit a line drive off the mound on the left-front of the green, where it stuck. Sanchez then lifted his shot through the branches to the pin.

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