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Roberts shoots course-record 61 to win MasterCard

1/23/2006 - Golf

KAUPULEHU, Hawaii -- Loren Roberts made a 30-foot birdie
putt on the final hole for a course-record 11-under 61 and a
one-stroke victory over Don Pooley on Sunday in the Champions
Tour's season-opening MasterCard Championship.

The 50-year-old Roberts -- called the "Boss of the Moss"
because of his brilliant putting touch -- had a 25-under 191 total
on the Hualalai course to shatter the Champions Tour record for
relation to par in a 54-hole event and tie the stroke mark. He also
broke the tour record for birdies in a three-round tournament with
26.

Roberts topped the tour mark of 22 under set by Ed Dougherty in
the 2001 TD Waterhouse Championship, and tied the record of 191 set
by Bruce Fleisher on a par-70 course in the 2002 RJR Championship.

Roberts and Pooley (25) both broke the previous record for
birdies in a 54-hole hole event of 24, set by Raymond Floyd (1994)
and matched by Hale Irwin (1995), Dougherty (2001) and Gil Morgan
earlier Sunday. Roberts' 11-under 61 broke the course record of 62
that Morgan set about a half-hour before Roberts finished.

Roberts capped the lowest round of his pro career with the long
putt on No. 18.

"It was nice that it went in," Roberts said. "Realistically,
when I hit it, I was thinking about getting it down there. I just
wanted to get it around the hole. It went in a little faster than I
wanted it to. But it went in and it went in pretty hard."

Pooley, who began the round with a three-stroke lead over
Roberts, made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a 65. Jay Haas
and D.A. Weibring shot 63s to tie for third at 22 under, and Morgan
and Tom Watson (64) tied for fifth at 20 under.

"I knew the course could give up a round like Loren had, but
where the pins were, I didn't think today would be the day to shoot
the lowest score," Pooley said.

"Loren played great. I shot a 65 with a three-shot lead and
normally that would be good enough. I'm disappointed, obviously,
but there are a lot of positives I can take from this event. I
played well."

Roberts, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, won for the
second time in seven career starts on the 50-and-over tour. He won
The Tradition last August in Oregon for his first senior victory
and first major victory.

Roberts, who earned $290,000, had nine birdies and an eagle
Sunday. He played the back nine in 7-under 29, eagling the par-5
10th and birdieing Nos. 12-14, 16 and 18.

"This is a great two weeks to start the season," said Roberts
who tied for 18th last week in the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Hawaii.

"The key for me was the birdie on nine, a hole I hadn't played
that well, and then the chip-in for eagle at the 10th. I feel
really good about the way I'm playing."