Leonard beats Parnevik in playoff to win Texas Open

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HOUSTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - American Justin Leonard nailed a 17-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole to win his third Texas Open and deny hard luck Swede Jesper Parnevik his first title in six years.

Leonard, who began the day four shots off the lead yesterday, forced a playoff with a final round five-under 65, that included a stretch of three consecutive birdies from the 12th, to end his own two-year title drought.

He joined Arnold Palmer as the only three-time winners of the event.

After missing the cut in his first six starts, the former British Open champion has enjoyed some superb late season form following up his 13th place at the Turning Stone Resort two weeks ago with his 11th career PGA Tour win.

Parnevik carried a three shot cushion in the final round but got his day off to a wobbly start, going two-over through 11 holes.

Leonard charged through an error free outward nine in three-under to join him atop the leaderboard at the San Antonio's La Cantera Golf Club.

The Swede battled back with four birdies on his next six holes but his one-under 69 was only good enough to put him in a playoff with both men on 19-under 261.

After paring the first two extra-holes, Parnevik looked to steal the win when his long birdie putt at the 17th stopped just short.

Leonard, however, would not miss sinking a nerve-jangling 17-footer to clinch his first playoff victory in five tries.

Swedes dominated the final leaderboard with Daniel Chopra (66) and Mathais Gronberg (69) finishing in a tie for third on 16-under 264.

REUTERS PDS RN0944

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