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Bruce Fleisher has cancer scare

Bruce Fleisher knows he could be in for a bout with cancer. For now, his first priority is defending his U.S. Senior Open title.

Earlier this month, Fleisher took a free tournament physical in Nashville, and tests indicated that prostate cancer cells could be present.

Fleisher plans to play in the Greater Baltimore Classic this weekend and in the U.S. Senior Open next week before having further tests.

``I'm fine,'' he said. ``We found out that I may have a problem. I'm going to address the problem after the Open. Most likely it's nothing ... but you have to take this thing serious. I'll know more in a couple of weeks.''

Fleisher skipped the U.S. Open last week and decided to play at the BellSouth Senior Classic. He was among 32 players and 20 spouses who took advantage of the free physicals and screenings offered by Vanderbilt University.

``It look it as a blessing I didn't play in the Open,'' Fleisher said. ``The free screening is a wonderful, wonderful program.''

Fleisher's decision to bypass the U.S. Open was criticized by former Open champions Hale Irwin and Tom Kite. But Fleisher said he withdrew after practicing on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park and feeling he could not compete.

Fleisher said Thursday his peers' comments might have been made because they figured he would be a worthy representative of the senior circuit at the prestigious event.

``But in all fairness, it was a golf course I felt I couldn't be competitive on. So I said to myself, `Why play?''' Fleisher said. ``I feel that I belong on the senior tour. That's why I'm out here.''

Fleisher expects to play well this week, but his real focus is on the U.S. Senior Open at the nearby Caves Valley Golf Course.

``This week I'm going to enjoy the ride,'' he said. ``I'm really gearing up for next week, and my so-called title defense.''

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