2004: Fiori finds first in playoff

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Huixquilucan, Mexico

Ed Fiori was lucky to finish the MasterCard Classic March 7, let alone win the tournament.

Fiori shot a final-round 5-under-par 67 to match Graham Marsh (74) at 6-under 210 at the Bosque Real Country Club. Fiori won with a par on the third playoff hole.

“It’s the thrill of my life,” said Fiori, who was treated by doctors Saturday for high blood pressure.

Fiori said he had a heart attack on New Year’s Eve, and was unsure he would complete the MasterCard Classic after spending more than an hour in an ambulance Saturday.

“They took good care of me,” he said of his doctors. “And the Lord looked after me.”

It was Fiori’s first Champions Tour victory in 22 starts. His last PGA Tour title came in 1996 at the Quad City Classic.

Fiori, 50, and Marsh, 60, bogeyed the first playoff hole (No. 18) and parred the second playoff hole (No. 16) before Fiori won with a par on the par-4 17th.

Marsh had a chance to win on the final hole of regulation but his birdie putt just missed.

South Africa’s Hugh Baiocchi shot 74 to finish a stroke out of the playoff.

Short shots: The victory gave Fiori a spot in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior British Open later this year. . . . One of the toughest features of the 7,480-yard Bosque Real course is the altitude at about 8,100 feet above sea level. Because of the hilly terrain, players were allowed to use carts. . . . First-round leader Andy Bean had his best finish as a member of the Champions Tour (T-7). . . . Sam Torrance (T-7) recorded his first top-25 finish in four events. . . . Jim Albus used a 6-iron for a hole-in-one on the 189-yard seventh hole Friday. . . . Mark James finished tied for 13th in his first event since arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last month. . . . Keith Fergus, a three-time PGA Tour winner, made his Champions debut and finished tied for 39th. . . . John Fought, a two-time PGA Tour winner, finished 70th in his Champions debut. . . . In five events in Mexico, three players (Mike McCullough in 2001, David Eger in 2003 and Fiori) made it their first Champions victory.

– Staff and wire reports

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