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RAIN HELPS MAGEE REIGN IN ORLANDO

RAIN HELPS MAGEE REIGN IN ORLANDO

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Andrew Magee couldn't care less about all the weather problems that disrupted and eventually shortened the Nestle Invitational.

``They have my name on the trophy, and that's all that matters,' Magee said after he survived a series of delays - and a decision by Arnold Palmer - and became a winner for only the second time in a seven-season PGA Tour career.Palmer, the 61-year-old host of this event, huddled with other tournament officials for hours before reluctantly deciding his flooded Bay Hill Club course was unplayable.

``I'm disappointed the rain shortened the tournament,' Palmer said after the event was curtailed to three rounds - spread over four days - and 54 holes.

But Magee wasn't.

``I'm not at all unhappy,' he said. ``It's the highlight of my career, no question about it.'

The victory was accompanied by more than the usual amount of mental gymnastics, conferences, discussions and possibilities.

Magee was among the 18 players delayed by rain and eventually stranded on the course Saturday night.

``I thought about it maybe being cut to 54 holes that night,' he said.

He was one stroke off the pace with three holes to go when he returned Sunday morning to complete third-round play. Magee promptly vaulted into the lead with an eagle-3, a 3-iron second shot setting up a 30-foot putt in a heavy rain.

He parred in, finishing off a 66 and posted a three-round total of 203, 13-under par.

And then he sat and waited and wondered. For almost three hours.

Shortly after Magee finished, play was halted again. This time four men were still out there.

One of them was Tom Sieckmann, the overnight leader. After a bogey on No. 16, he was 11-under with two holes to go. A birdie-birdie finish would tie him with Magee.

While the rain pounded down, Magee was waiting in the locker room and mentally going through the possibilities. Maybe Sieckmann and the other three players couldn't finish and they'd all have to come back Monday.

Maybe Sieckmann would finish third-round play, the tournament would be cut to 54 holes and Magee would win outright. Maybe Sieckmann would birdie in for a tie, the tournament would be cut to three rounds and they'd have a sudden death playoff.

Maybe the rain would let up and they'd be able to play the fourth round in the afternoon.

``Paul Azinger came by and said to stay mentally alert and ready to go,' Magee said. ``That kind of snapped my thinking about 54 holes and a win.'

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