Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf
Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf
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Green, Morgan phone in victory

As much as his play over the weekend, it was a well-timed telephone call that got Hubert Green to the winner's podium at the Legends of Golf.

It was in 1996 that he formed a partnership with Gil Morgan, one of the Senior Tour's best players, whose long drives are the perfect compliment to Green's deft short game.

The combination worked perfectly, as the duo closed out a wire-to-wire victory today, shooting a 6-under 66 to finish the tournament at 22-under 194 for a three-stroke margin.

"I knew about this tournament, but I didn't know much about it," Morgan said. "He called and asked if I wanted to play. I said, 'Let me think about it a minute.' Next thing I know, we're playing together."

Green insisted that Morgan's "minute" really lasted about three weeks. Then, he signed off on a partnership that is running wonderfully in its third year.

Green and Morgan split the $316,000 first prize by easily outdistancing John Mahaffey and Tom Wargo, who shot 8-under to finish at 197.

David Graham and Jay Sigel shot 3-under to finish in a tie for third at 200 with Gibby Gilbert and J.C. Snead, who shot 7-under.

It was the sixth start-to-finish victory in the 22-year history of the two-man, best-ball tournament sponsored by Liberty Mutual.

The final day was anything like the first two on the 6,939-yard World Golf Village Slammer and Squire Course. Winds of up to 30 mph hammered the course, making club selection and putting on the severely sloped greens a mess.

"It played a lot more difficult today," Green said. "For the conditions out there, our score was not a bad score. It was a situation where you could make some bogeys if you didn't watch out."

Morgan put the tournament away on the par-5 No. 8 when he knocked his second shot, a 3-iron from 230 yards out, to three feet.

He sank the eagle putt to go to 19-under. Morgan and Green exchanged a high-five and at that point, nobody in the 27-team field was within five strokes.

Green birdied No. 9 to push the lead to six and the back nine was an exercise in conservatism.

"With the conditions what they were, we knew if we made a birdie every once in a while and didn't make many mistakes, we had a good chance because we had such a lead," Green said.

Playing alongside Green and Morgan for the third straight day, Graham and Sigel gave away any chance of winning the tournament when they fell behind by four with a bogey on the par-4 third hole.

Graham, however, felt the opportunity really was lost Saturday, when Green and Morgan struggled but he and Sigel shot 69 and failed to gain significant ground.

"It was the front nine yesterday," Graham said. "We had a good game with them all week, but we just didn't play well when we had to."

Wargo made eagle on the par-5 16th hole, but he and Mahaffey each missed birdie attempts at No. 17 in their last attempt to put some pressure on the leaders.

Like Graham and Sigel, they kicked themselves for a lacklustre round of 70 on Saturday.

"I didn't play well yesterday," Mahaffey said. "If I had played a little better yesterday we would have been OK."

The winning team consists of Morgan, a $4.4 million winner in two-plus seasons on the senior tour, and Green, who was a mainstay on the regular tour in the 70s and 80s thanks to an accurate driver and nice touch around the greens.

The blend worked well all weekend, as the team finished the tournament with one eagle, 20 birdies and not a single bogey.

"Gil was my first and only choice," Green said of his search for a partner in 1996. "I mean, Doc may drop me next year, but hopefully, we'll play together several years."

Morgan nodded at that idea. After a solid weekend in St. Augustine, it was easy to understand why.

DIVOTS: The condition of the course, most notably the greens, were the prime topic of conversation all week. Hardly anybody enjoyed playing them. "They need to make a lot of areas less severe. And not just for us. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be coming here," Mahaffey said. The course has been designated the new, permanent home of this tournament. ... Lee Trevino and Mike Hill made a run to the top of the leader board early in Sunday's round. They shot 5-under on the front nine to get to 14-under, but played the back side at even. ... The other teams to win the tournament wire-to-wire: Don January and Sam Snead, Al Geiberger and Harold Henning, John Bland and Graham Marsh and Charles Coody and Dale Douglass twice.