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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > Champions Tour > Ford Senior Players Championship > Round 4


Bobby Wadkins wins despite late drama

Bobby Wadkins could swallow again.

Wadkins rallied from the middle of the pack Sunday to win the $2.5 million Senior Players Championship and claim his first major title.

Entering the final round in a four-way tie for fifth and four shots back of Loren Roberts, Wadkins was able to climb his way atop the leaderboard with a 4-under-par 68 to finish at 14-under 274 overall.

Wadkins claimed the victory while nearly getting as hot as the 95-degree temperatures, converting five straight birdies from Nos. 11-15. He bogeyed 16 but bounced back with another birdie before surviving one final tense moment.

In securing his second Champions Tour victory this year and third career, Wadkins had to go up-and-down for a double-bogey at the par-4 18th.

"Anyone who says they aren't feeling nerves at that state of the game is telling a lie," Wadkins said. "The tournament should have been over, and I almost gave it away."

After making his putt, Wadkins made a motion toward his throat, signaling what appeared to be a choke sign. However, he was able to maintain the lead since he entered the hole with a three-stroke lead.

Ten days shy of his 55th birthday, Wadkins collected $375,000.

"I'm kind of old school. I mean, we have four majors, and unfortunately most of us don't play in those anymore," said Wadkins, who never won in 23 full years on the PGA Tour from 1975-98. "That's the British and those guys.

"If this is a major tournament on the Champions Tour, I think that should be a little different there. If they want to call it a major, I'm the first one to say, 'Thank you very much. I'm a major champion.' I got the check. It'll be in my bank Tuesday, so I'm as happy as it gets right now."

Jim Thorpe closed with a 69 to finish one shot behind Wadkins at 13-under 275. It marked his fourth career runner-up finish in a major.

The quartet of Loren Roberts, tour money leader Jay Haas (68), Des Smyth (70) and Gil Morgan (69) finished two shots behind.

Roberts had reason to be the most disappointed since he entered the final round with a two-shot lead. The winner of the first three events this year went ahead by as many as five shots but collapsed to a 2-over 74.

Roberts played the front nine at 2-under but endured double-bogeys at Nos. 11 and 14.

"I've been struggling for five months now," Roberts said. "I hit it good some days and terrible some days. Today, I hit it good for nine holes, and then I pulled the wrong club on one hole and made a terrible shot on another hole, plus the putter went cold on the back nine.

"I just feel a little worn out because I've been working so hard on my game. Right now, I just don't feel like I can get it done Sunday because I've been working so hard on my game. I'm having to think about every swing I make and it's just not working. I really need some time off right now."

With the extremely uncomfortable conditions, 65-year-old Jim Colbert was forced to withdraw on the 13th hole due to heat exhaustion. He was struggling at 4-over when he withdrew.



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