Home Depot Invitational
Home Depot Invitational
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Fleisher edges Dill, Holtgrieve by 1

Bruce Fleisher won for the third time in just seven starts on the Senior PGA Tour this year, sinking a 3-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole for a one-stroke victory today in the Home Depot Invitational.

Fleisher fired a 3-under par 69 at the Tournament Players Club at Piper Glen to finish 11-under, one shot better than Terry Dill and Jim Holtgrieve, whose mother died Saturday night.

Allen Doyle, DeWitt Weaver and Christy O'Connor finished two strokes back.

Fleisher's third win of the year came in dramatic fashion.

He started the 17th hole at 9-under, one shot behind Doyle, Holtgrieve and Weaver. But Fleisher sent a 9-iron shot within 10 feet of the cup on the par-3 hole, then knocked in his putt for birdie to move into a tie.

While Fleisher was on the move, others began to falter.

Ahead on the 18th hole, Weaver shanked his second shot into the hospitality tents on the right side of the fairway and three-putted for a bogey to finish 9-under. Holtgrieve found a bunker on his second shot and couldn't get up and down in two shots. He settled for par to finish at 10-under.

Doyle, who seemed in control of the tournament entering the 17th, overshot the green and landed in the water. He settled for bogey and fell out of contention at 9-under.

"That really opened the door,'' Fleisher said.

It was up to Fleisher or Dill to win the tournament on No. 18.

But while Dill could only manage par, Fleisher put together four fantastic shots to make birdie.

Fleisher hit a conservative tee shot and laid up perfectly with a 7-iron. He hit wedge from less than 100 yards out to within three feet of the hole. He calmly lined up his putt and knocked it in for the win.

"It seemed like it was a 10-foot putt the way I had been putting today,'' said Fleisher, who added that he lacked concentration all week.

Fleisher collected $180,000 for the victory, moving past Doyle into first place on the Senior Tour money list despite playing in only seven of 10 tournaments.

In addiition to his three wins, Fleisher has been second twice and third once. His worst performance was 27th at the snow-shortened Tradition. He has won $827,550 for his rookie season on the tour.

O'Connor, playing to save his Senior Tour card, made a bold run today trying to catch the leaders.

The Irishman started the day at 2-under, but birdied the first hole and then eagled the par-5 second en route to a 65. O'Connor had a 30-foot eagle putt on the 18th green that would have tied him temporarily for the lead at 10-under, but it missed by inches.

"It had a double break to it and five feet out I said it was all over the hole," he said. "It's a pity."

Vicente Fernandez and Kermit Zarley finished at 8-under. Walt Morgan and Tom Jenkins also made runs, shooting par 67s to finish tied at 7-under with Jay Sigel. Hubert Green, Howard Twitty and Mike Hill ended the tournament at 6-under par.

Doyle entered the final round in a three-way tie with Fleisher and Dill.

Doyle stretched his lead to three strokes at the turn by shooting 33 on the front nine. He couldn't sustain the lead, failing to make a single birdie on the back nine.

"The crushing blow was the 17th hole," Doyle said. "I felt like I was in control at that point and had a good chance to win. It was just a matter of the wrong club selection. I used a 9-iron instead of the wedge, and it was too strong."

Jim Dent, the tournament's two-time defending champion, missed his chance to become only the fifth Senior Tour player to win a tournament three consecutive years. He finished at 2-over par after shooting a final-round 74.


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