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Kenny Perry enjoying being a late developer

Late developer Kenny Perry, who romped to a seven-shot victory at the Colonial tournament in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday, has made a habit of producing red-hot winning streaks on the PGA Tour.

The 44-year-old American won only four titles in his first 16 seasons on tour before the 2003 Colonial.

Since then, however, the Kentucky resident has clinched five more, including back-to-back victories last year and two this season.

Although he has never won a major, he has also made a habit of thriving in PGA Tour events that honour, or are hosted by, American golfing greats.

Sunday's victory in high heat and humidity at the Colonial was his second at Hogan's Alley, where five-times winner Ben Hogan is a celebrated figure.

Perry has twice won the Memorial tournament, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, and he completed a memorable set of three by triumphing two months ago at Arnold Palmer's tournament -- the Bay Hill Invitational.

"I can't believe I've won here twice," he told reporters on Sunday after clinching his second Colonial title in three years and equalling his own tournament record of 19-under-par 261.

"My golf swing was on the money. My swing was good, my rhythm was good, my pace was good and my putter was good," he added after closing with a one-under 69.

Ryder Cup player Perry, who enjoys drag racing in his spare time, believes his late tournament success as a professional owes much to his focus on having fun out on the course.

"I've just changed and I really enjoy it now," he said. "I think that's been the biggest difference of my play is because I'm having fun out there.

"I'm still strong, I'm still healthy, I still hit it a long way and I'm able to keep up with most people. I've been fortunate, I'm very blessed.

"Plus I don't think I have anything to prove," added Perry, who turned professional in 1982. "I keep telling people, it's not about the money. To me, it's about a little piece of history.

"I had a big thing on my mind before this year's Bay Hill, having won at Muirfield (Village, venue for the Memorial) and at Colonial.

"I really wanted to win at Bay Hill because I really wanted to make my trifecta there with those three great men.

"Horses for courses. I just come to these venues, and I think I'm going to win when I get there."

Perry's ninth PGA Tour victory secured him a cheque for $1 million and lifted him to fifth place in the 2005 PGA Tour money list with earnings of $2,411,063. His career earnings have risen above $18 million, of which $2.6 million have been won at the Colonial.

"I hit the ball better when I was young, but course management and my thinking and how relaxed and how comfortable I am on the golf course is so much different," he said.

"I just don't have any pressure. I have kids, two in college and one a junior in high school. They are going great and their lives are good.

"We're just happy and I don't have to stress on my kids really tugging at me anymore.

Perry, who took up the game aged seven with encouragement from his father, added: "It's really been a nice ride.

"It makes me appreciate my times now, as opposed to where I was way back and how much I've grown as a person and as a player."

 

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