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Greater Milwaukee Open
Brown Deer Park Golf Course
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
3rd - 6th September 1998

Par 71 Prize Money $1.8 million

Final Round Report

Sluman captures his third PGA Tour victory

Associated Press

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 6th September 1998 - Jeff Sluman won his first golf tournament in 19 months today, and gave his best friend a special thrill, too.

Rick Bruder, who doesn't play golf, agreed at the last minute to caddie for Sluman during the Greater Milwaukee Open. Today, as Sluman was heading toward his third career PGA Tour victory, Bruder, who had never caddied before, was getting excited.

"He is on cloud nine. It has been a wonderful week. He was really, really nervous out there,'' Sluman said. "It was a lot of fun seeing him. He probably kept me relaxed. I was kind of laughing inside at how nervous he was.''

Sluman, who won the PGA Championship in 1988 and the Tucson Chrysler Classic last year, bogeyed No. 18 for a 3-under-par 68 and a 19-under 265 total that earned him $324,000.

"Eighteen certainly wasn't an artistic success, but I ended up with a check and that is all that really matters,'' he said. "I feel my game is in really good shape.''

Sluman, 40, beat Wisconsin native Steve Stricker by one stroke.

Stricker, who also closed with a 68, was the favorite of the gallery and the resident of nearby Madison made it interesting at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.

He began the final round one stroke behind co-leaders Sluman and Chris Perry and climbed back into contention with birdies on the final four holes, duplicating what he did Saturday.

"It's a good thing for those last four holes because on the weekend I didn't play the other 14 very well,'' he said.

Stricker, who became a father for the first time last Monday (August 31), had said that winning what amounts to his backyard tournament would be "more special'' to him than any other.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he walked up the 18th fairway.

"I got goose bumps and my hair was standing on end on my arms. It was a good feeling. It just gives you chills,'' said Stricker, who earned $194,400 for second place.

Still, he found fault with his game, which included a "terrible drive'' on No. 1.

"I made a mediocre round into a good round,'' he said. "It is disappointing to come out on these last rounds and be a little bit nervous and not perform the way I should. My confidence level just isn't there yet.''

Sluman had an eagle on No. 6 when he chipped in from 20 feet from the heavy rough just off the green on his third shot on the par-5 . He punched his left hand in encouragement as his ball bent slightly left and rolled into the center of the cup.

"Chipping in from there really adds a lot of momentum to your round,'' he said. "From there it just started rolling and I felt pretty comfortable.''

Sluman played steady, controlled golf all day, needing just 12 putts on the first 11 holes as he chipped in from 45 feet on No. 5, a par-3.

Perry closed with a 71 and was tied for third at 268 with Mark Calcavecchia and Nolan Henke, who both shot 69s.

Perry, a Minnesota native whose father Jim pitched for Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit and Oakland during his major league career, looked to win for the first time ever on the PGA Tour. He first joined the Tour in 1984.

Playing with Sluman, Perry was one stroke behind before bogeying Nos. 8 and 9 and he never recovered. He left birdie putts short on two of the last three holes.

Reigning PGA champion Vijay Singh, making his first appearance in Milwaukee and one of the hottest golfers coming into the tournament, finished with a 70 and was at 278, and never challenged for the lead.

First-round leader Loren Roberts, who tied a tournament course record with an opening 62, shot a 73 for a 277 total. Scott Hoch, who won the tournament last year and in 1995, finished with a 73 for a 279 total

 

Final Round Scores

Third Round

Second Round

First Round


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