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The putts that fell earlier in the week just didn't drop for Steve Stricker on Sunday. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
The putts that fell earlier in the week just didn't drop for Steve Stricker on Sunday. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Stricker's putter, favorite club, goes cold at wrong time

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Steve Stricker began Sunday in second place, three shots behind leader Sergio Garcia, but never mounted a challenge. His problem was a surprising one, as a player known as one of the game's best putters suddenly couldn't seem to make a putt.

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) -- Steve Stricker is known as one of the better putters on the PGA TOUR.

Playing in the final group of a major for the first time, his favorite club let him down. Big time.

Three shots off the lead and paired with front-running Sergio Garcia, Stricker never mounted a serious challenge at the Open Championship on Sunday. The American might have if not for three short misses on the front side -- a 2-footer for birdie at No. 3, a 4-footer for birdie at No. 6, and a 5-footer to save par at the ninth.

"I hit it fine, but I didn't get it in the hole," Stricker said. "I was a little hesitant with the putting and it showed. I would've liked to have see what would've happened if I'd made a couple of birdie putts early on."

He didn't, making the turn with a 1-over 37 and settling for a 3-over 74 -- 10 strokes worse than his 64 in the third round, the lowest score ever for an Open played at Carnoustie.

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Stricker wound up with a 3-under 281, four shots back in a tie for eighth. Garcia lost to Padraig Harrington in a playoff.

"It was a great experience," Stricker said. "You can't pay for an experience like that, playing in the last group of a major."

But, he added, "Overall, it's disappointing."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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