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Quigley to set consecutive start record

Dana Quigley knows he's no Cal Ripken Jr. But he is the iron man of the Senior Tour.

Quigley makes his record 178th consecutive start this week at the Bruno's Memorial Classic, which gets under way Friday at Greystone Golf and Country Club.

A six-time winner on the Senior Tour, Quigley has started 177 straight events for which he has been eligible, tying the mark set by Mike McCullough, whose streak ended last year when he decided to skip the SAS Championship.

Quigley is humble when it comes to the run, which began at the BankBoston Classic in August 1997 and includes six wins, 10 second-place finishes, 74 top-10s, 534 rounds, 39,552 strokes and more than $6.78 million in earnings.

"I don't think this streak compares to Ripken," the 55-year-old Quigley said. "He went like 13 years without missing and I've gone almost five.

"Still, no one's ever done this in golf. If you would have told me when I started that I'd play five straight years, I would have said no. I still have the same passion for golf today that I did five years ago. That's my secret."

Not everyone's impressed by the streak. Quigley said his family doesn't even keep track of it.

"My brother-in-law would rather talk about the Red Sox," said Quigley, a Massachusetts native.

Senior Tour star Hale Irwin is impressed. He likened Quigley's durability to that of a radial tire.

"He keeps going. That's fantastic," said Irwin, the defending champion who has a tour-record 34 titles. "I don't think anyone will touch that one."

Irwin gets better with age. The 56-year-old has won twice this season and leads the money list with $951,000.

"I've taken an ability I've managed to develop and have faith in it," he said.

Irwin's biggest challenge these days may come from Jim Thorpe, who is playing with confidence and for money.

The 53-year-old Thorpe claimed his first major victory last week at The Tradition. It was his fifth Senior title -- all in the last 20 months.

"The game is there and I'm ready to go," said Thorpe, who won three PGA Tour events in the 1980s. "Lots of guys are working hard and are due to win. There's no reason I can't go back-to-back."

Last week, Thorpe admitted that the money was important. He reiterated his remarks at Wednesday's pre-tournament news conference.

"I enjoy playing for the money," said Thorpe, who is 10th on the money list with nearly $500,000. "I want to put my wife and two daughters in position to live a comfortable life if something happened to me."

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