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WILL SURVIVES A PLAYOFF TO WIN INAUGURAL CLASSIC

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It was Maggie Will's victory, but Jill Briles-Hinton couldn't help but think it was also her loss.

Briles-Hinton bogeyed the final hole of regulation to allow Alicia Dibos and Will into a playoff, then three-putted the first playoff hole for another bogey. Will took advantage of her largess, dropping a 15-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to win the inaugural Children's Medical Center LPGA Classic on Sunday."I've always patterned my game off Greg Norman, and bingo!" Briles-Hinton said.

Briles-Hinton picked the wrong player to emulate in Norman, renowned for hard-luck, last-hole defeats. But she still said she, like Norman, had to be admired for at least making things interesting.

"You always have the feeling that somebody else will knock it in," said Briles-Hinton, a non-winner in eight years and 213 tournaments as a pro. "That way you won't be so disappointed when they do."

Will trailed Briles-Hinton by two strokes as she teed off on the final hole. Briles-Hinton, playing in front of Will, said nerves got to her as she hit a 6-iron into the right bunker. When she failed to save par from the sand, Will saw her opening.

"On the 17th tee, I wondered if there was any hope," Will said. "But after the tee shot on 18, I saw Jill was in the trap. After she made bogey, I saw the opportunity to get in a playoff."

Will hit to 24 feet right of the pin and faced a twisting, side-hill putt for birdie.

"It was either make it or get an earlier flight out," Will said. "You know how sometimes you just know? I just kind of knew it and I drained it."

Dibos, playing in the last group, came along and also made the playoff by dropping a 4-foot birdie putt after a spectacular 4-iron approach.

All three bogeyed the first playoff hole, with Briles-Hinton three-putting from the back fringe and Dibos doing the same from the left fringe. This time it was Will who hit into the greenside trap and failed to make the sand save.

It was only the second bogey of the tournament for Will, who double bogeyed the 14th hole in the first round.

The three went on to the second playoff hole, the 368-yard, par-4 10th. Will drove into perfect position at the break of the dogleg and then hit her approach to 15 feet.

Dibos came up short on her approach and ended up in the front trap, and Briles-Hinton hit through the green to the back fringe. Dibos and Briles-Hinton each chipped to 5 feet, but Will ended it by making the birdie putt.

It was Will's third victory in a six-year career and her first top-10 finish since 1992.

"It feels wonderful," said the 29-year-old from Whiteville, N.C. "I could tell the last four, five or six weeks I was starting to get that feeling again. Usually when I get that feeling, it happens pretty quick."

She collected $52,500 from a purse of $350,000.

Her third straight round of 2-under-par 70 got her to 6-under 210 and into the playoff.

Beth Daniel, the tour's No. 2 money-winner, missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole and also missed the playoff. Her final-round 71 left her a shot back at 5-under along with Tracy Kerdyk, who had a closing 68.

Judy Dickinson also had a 68 to finish alone at 4-under 212. Deb Richard, Ellie Gibson, Rosie Jones and Shelley Hamlin were all at 3-under 213. Richard shot 67, Jones 72 and Hamlin 73.