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Gilder rolls in birdie on second playoff hole

9/8/2002

MAINEVILLE, Ohio -- Bob Gilder is perfect in playoffs.

He's 4-0 after making a 2-foot birdie putt on the second extra
hole Sunday to beat Tom Jenkins and win the Kroger Senior Classic.

''I really don't know what I'm feeling. I'm in a daze,'' Gilder
said. ''I'm pretty worn out mentally.''

The win gave Gilder consecutive victories for the second time
this year. He won playoffs in the SBC Senior Open and FleetBoston
Classic in July, and won the Allianz Championship in Iowa last
week.

''I've probably played this well, but I've never had this kind
of success,'' said Gilder, a six-time winner in two senior seasons
after also winning six times on the PGA Tour. ''Life is really
pretty good right now.''

Jenkins had 10 birdies in a course-record, 10-under 62 and was
the leader in the clubhouse at 16 under. Gilder closed with a 69,
tying Jenkins with a birdie on the par-4 17th.

''I asked my caddie at 17 if I was tied or one behind,'' Gilder
said. ''He said, 'We're one behind, we need a birdie.' I said,
'Let's get it here.'''

That was good because his birdie try at 18 curled around the cup
and left him tied with Jenkins with a three-round total of 200 at
the 7,145-yard TPC at River's Bend.

Hale Irwin shot a 64 and finished third at 9-under 201. Tom Kite
and Bruce Lietzke, who matched the course record with a 62, tied
for fourth at 203.

Jenkins started the day at 6 under, tied for 16th.

''I missed an 8-footer at No. 1 and said, 'Here we go again,'''
Jenkins said. ''I made a birdie at No. 4 and thought, 'Well,
maybe.' Then I got it going at No. 6.''

From there, Jenkins made four consecutive birdies to make the
turn at 31, and added five more birdies on the back nine.

''The adrenaline started going after the birdie at 14,'' Jenkins
said. ''I made a good par at 16 and then made birdie at 17, but
still didn't know where I stood. I had a good chance for eagle at
18. I had a chance to win.''

But his 45-foot eagle putt narrowly missed.

''To shoot 62 ... how can you complain?'' Jenkins said. ''But it
is disappointing to get this close and lose.''

Gilder and Jenkins parred the first playoff hole, the par-5
18th. At the par-4 10th, Gilder hit his second shot to 2 feet, and
Jenkins hit his approach to 10 feet.

Jenkins' birdie try slid a foot past the hole, and Gilder rolled
in his birdie putt for his fourth win in eight weeks.

It was the second consecutive Kroger playoff loss for Jenkins,
who lost to Jim Thorpe on the first playoff hole last year.

Gilder, who played bogey-free golf through the first two rounds,
bogeyed the third hole Sunday after 51 holes of par or better.

''I'm hitting my irons superb. They're going at the hole. And my
putting is there,'' Gilder said. ''I'm in a zone. I'm thinking
right down the middle and the flag stick every hole.''

Still, the win surprised Gilder.

''I didn't think a (final round) 69 would get me in a playoff,''
Gilder said. ''I thought I'd have to go lower.''

Gilder's win was worth $225,000. He's second to Irwin on the
senior money list and in the Charles Schwab Cup points race.

Irwin has 19 top-10 finishes and 12 top-three finishes this
season.