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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2006 > Champions Tour > Regions Charity Classic > Round 3


Brad Bryant clinches title with closing 64

With Brad Bryant's terrific shots and Mark McNulty's costly blunders, the Regions Charity Classic took a dramatic twist at the end.

Bryant turned a three-stroke deficit into a two-shot victory over the final three holes Sunday, finishing with an 8-under 64 to take full advantage of McNulty's two shots into the water.

"The ending was somewhat bittersweet," Bryant said. "I certainly did not expect Mark to hit a ball in the water, let alone hit it in the water twice. That's very unusual. He's such a great player. On the other hand, I just hit great shots."

Two shots in particular helped give Bryant his second Champions Tour victory of the year and a $240,000 payday with his 17-under 199 total.

McNulty, who had a three-stroke lead through 15 holes, sent his second shot into the water on No. 17 for the second straight day and made a double bogey. That left an opening for Bryant, who used a 3-iron to hit a near-perfect, 219-yard approach and set up a nearly 4-foot birdie putt for a one-stroke edge.

On the previous hole, he hit a 5-iron 209 yards to set up a 3-foot eagle putt.

Bryant called those swings "quite possibly the best shots I've ever hit in my life. Most assuredly, they were the best iron shots I've ever hit back-to-back in my life."

McNulty could only watch with a grimace as he sent the ball bouncing off the green and back into the water on No. 18. McNulty bogeyed the hole for his third consecutive 67, and Bryant finished with a par for the two-stroke margin.

"It wasn't the pressure," McNulty said. "It was just two bad shots. Brad hit three great shots and I hit two bad shots."

Bryant, the Toshiba Classic winner in March in Newport Beach, Calif., was the only competitor who didn't have a bogey in the three-day tournament at Ross Bridge on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.

Most of the day, it looked like he was playing for second place, with McNulty pushing his lead to four strokes on the first three holes.

"He birdied the first three holes and it looked like he was just going to run away with the thing the whole day," Bryant said. "It never occurred to me that I would end up winning the golf tournament."

McNulty held at least a share of the lead from the first round until the final two holes. He birdied Nos. 12-14 to rebuild his lead over Bryant to three strokes.

Then, trouble struck.

"You play this game for what's now for me 30 years, you're going to see good, bad and ugly," McNulty said. "You see everything happen. But you have to hand it to Brad, the way he hung in there. I was making birdies and he was making them right on top of me to stay within distance."

David Edwards (67) finished four strokes back, one shot ahead of Jim Thorpe.

Thorpe tied the tournament record shared by five others with a 63. He had eagles on the par-5 seventh and 16th holes, the sixth time a player has managed two in a round this season on the tour. He finished with pars on the challenging finishing holes, and wasn't too disappointed.

"The first thing my caddie says was, 'Man if we can birdie 17 and 18 ..."' Thorpe said. "I'm thinking, 'Man, just let me par 17 and 18."'

The 15-year-old tournament, formerly the Bruno's Memorial Classic, remains the only Champions Tour event without a repeat winner.


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