Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic
Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic
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Irwin wins 5th tournament of the year

Hale Irwin was far enough ahead in the Burnet Senior Classic that he couldn't even beat himself.

Despite two late bogeys, Irwin won his fifth tournament of the season by two strokes over Jim Dent and Dale Douglass.

"It wasn't easy out there by any means," said Irwin, who closed with a 3-under-par 69. "I struggled a little bit at the end Saturday and Sunday. I may have lost some energy level and focus after playing so well early in the rounds.

"I hit a lot of good shots today but the poor shots I hit were really poor," he said. "The 69 I shot probably doesn't look like I played that well, but that's deceiving."

Irwin, who won $225,000, finished at 15-under 201, despite bogeys at Nos. 15 and 17 that eroded a seemingly safe cushion. Irwin went to the par-5 18th hole with just a one-stroke lead over Dent and Douglass. Irwin chipped his third shot within 12 feet and sank the birdie putt.

"I wanted to play aggressively on the 18th hole," Irwin said. "I hit a driver because I knew we were going into the wind. To play it too safe wasn't the way to go."

Dent, who closed with a 66, and Douglass, who shot 65, finished at 13-under 203. Both had the best paydays of the year as they each won $120,000.

Gil Morgan, who shot a 68, finished at 204 and Jim Colbert (69) and Allen Doyle (68) were at 205.

David Graham, tied for the lead at 12-under through eight holes, bogeyed Nos. 15 and 17 and settled for a tie with Larry Nelson at 10-under 206.

Irwin became the first two-time winner in Burnet's seven-year history, his score falling two short of his 1997 record total of 17-under.

In the last three years, Irwin has won 21 of the 60 senior tournaments he's played. Sunday's victory moved him into second place in career victories with 25, three off Lee Trevino's record.

The $225,000 winner's purse improved Irwin's season total to more than $1,478,000. He trails only Bruce Fleisher, who has made just over $1.5 million.

Irwin held the lead after posting birdies on five of the first six holes in Friday's opening round. His lead peaked at six shots through 15 holes Saturday, but the final 21 holes were a battle.

Irwin overcame a dramatic swing in Saturday's final three holes. A five-stroke lead dwindled to one after he made two bogeys and Graham had two birdies. He was tied with Graham until birdies on Nos. 9-10 gave him a two-stroke lead.

"I told my caddy I had to play more aggressively," Irwin said. "I was sort of wishing shots in and getting too mechanical."

Irwin also birdied No. 12 but bogeyed the par-4 15th after his tee shot landed squarely behind a tree and he had to chip back to the fairway. He answered with a birdie on No. 16 for a two-stroke cushion, but hit a poor drive on the par-3 17th and missed a 10-foot par putt.

Dent, Douglass and Graham all had their best finishes of the season. Dent came in ranked 31st on the money list, Douglass was 64th with no top-10 finishes and Graham was 47th with only one top-10 placing.

 

AP


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