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Twitty wins SPGA Tour School

Howard Twitty won the Senior PGA Tour's qualifying tournament Friday, shooting a 4-under-par 68 to grab one of eight full exemptions on the 2002 tour.

Twitty, 52, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, finished with a 12-under 276 total on the Champions Course at the PGA of Southern California Golf Club. He earned $42,000.

``Finishing in the top eight will allow me to arrange my schedule for the year. That was the primary reason I came here,'' Twitty said. ``I was really pleased how I played this week, especially playing under the gun as we did.''

Twitty, who also earned full exemptions in the 1998 and 1999 qualifying tournaments, was 44th on the money list this year with $431,932 in 29 events.

Larry Ziegler, at 62 the oldest player in the field, shot a 70 to finish three strokes back. The two-time senior winner regained his playing status after falling below the floor of 70 on the all-time money list.

Jack Spradlin, Daniel O'Neill and Rodger Davis tied for third at 280, and Don Pooley was sixth at 283. Seven players tied for seventh at 284, with Mike Smith and Dick Mast earning the final two fully exempt spots in a playoff. Smith birdied the first extra hole, and Mast birdied the second.

Playoff losers R.W. Eaks (ninth), Butch Sheehan (10th), Fred Gibson (11th), Bill Brask (12th) and Clyde Hughey (13th) secured conditional cards along with David Eger (14th), Mark Pfeil (15th) and Doug Johnson (16th).

The field was expanded by two spots because Eaks and Eger are 49 and will not become eligible until next spring. Danny Edwards earned the 17th spot and Steve Stull took the 18th position. They will be eligible until Eaks (May 22) and Eger (March 17) turn 50.


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