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Mark McNulty set for Tradition defence

Mark McNulty will be hoping for a repeat performance starting Thursday at the the $2.6 million JELD-WEN Tradition, the year’s fourth major on the Champions Tour.

McNulty found the Pacific Northwest to his liking last year as he rolled to a five-stroke victory for his first career major championship.

While he still is seeking his first win of 2008, McNulty enters this event off a third-place showing at the U.S. Senior Open. He also was winless entering last year’s event here.

One of the major contenders this week figures to be Eduardo Romero, the 2006 champion. The Argentine won the Senior Open, his second victory in his last three events after he also captured Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in early July.

Romero, one of six player to have won twice on the Champions Tour this year, is fifth on the money list with just over $1.1 million.

Two years ago, Romero defeated Lonnie Nielsen in a playoff at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club’s South Course en route to winning the Tradition.

Nielsen may have a bit of advantage in Central Oregon. He is the only Champions Tour player with a pair of tournaments under his belt at Crosswater Club at Sunriver Resort as he tied for 35th in the Professional National Championship in 2001 and tied for 12th in last year’s Tradition.

Another contender this week could be Tom Kite, the 2000 Tradition winner who has finished among the top five in four of the last five championships in Oregon.

Hale Irwin, the Champions Tour all-time leader in wins (45), will try to join Jack Nicklaus as the only player to claim a fourth different major title. A victory also would tie him with Nicklaus for most majors won (eight) on the elder circuit.

However, Irwin has just one top-15 finish in 14 events this year.

First prize is $390,000.


August 14, 2008

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