CARY, N.C. -- Hale Irwin won for the fourth time this year
to push his Champions Tour-record victory total to 44, capping a
back-nine run with an eagle in a two-stroke victory over Tom
Jenkins and Bob Gilder on Sunday in the SAS Championship.
The 60-year-old Irwin played the back nine in 6-under 31 for a
6-under 66 and a 13- under 203 total on the Prestonwood Country
Club course. He birdied Nos. 10, 12, 13 and 15 and reached 13 under
with a 25-foot eagle putt from the collar on the par-5 17th.
"The big eagle on 17 was the clincher," Irwin said. "The putt
was up against the collar, which is never a good place to be."
The three-time U.S. Open champion started the final round three
strokes behind Gilder and four behind second-round leader R.W.
"When I made the turn I didn't give much thought to winning
because I didn't play that well on the front nine," Irwin said.
"But I played No. 10 very well and got a birdie that opened the
floodgates and I started putting more aggressively.
"I really didn't know what was going on until I got to 16. Then
I saw I had the lead with Bob. I knew something was going to happen
in the last two or three holes."
Gilder closed with a 71, and Jenkins shot a 70.
"You expect Hale to play well. When he's putting well, he's
tough to beat," Gilder said. "I should be happy with second place
but I'm not. I wasn't accurate enough to make a move early in the
round. I'm disappointed because I wanted to win."
Craig Stadler, the 2004 winner, shot a 69 to finish fourth at 10
under. Monday qualifier Danny Edwards (71) was 8 under, and Bruce
Lietzke (69), Bobby Wadkins (71), Lonnie Nielsen (71) and Gary
McCord (72) were 7 under.
Eaks (77) tied for 10th at 6 under.
Charles Schwab Cup leader Dana Quigley had his worst finish of
the season, tying for 64th at 11 over after a 72. Former major
league pitcher Rick Rhoden, also a Monday qualifier, closed with a
72 to tie for 36th at 2 over.
Irwin earned $285,000 to increase his season total to
$1,794,767, only $17,537 behind Quigley for the top spot. Irwin
also became a four-time winner in a season for the sixth time in
his 10 full years on the Champions Tour.
Hale Irwin won for the fourth time this year to push his Champions Tour-record victory total to 44 with a two-stroke victory in the SAS Championship.