Gilder's 17-under 193 topples tourney record

Updated: April 23, 2003, 10:34 AM ET
Associated Press

MILTON, Fla. -- Bob Gilder won the Emerald Coast Classic with a tournament record 17-under-par 193, finishing four strokes ahead of three other Champions Tour golfers Sunday.

Gilder, who shared the second-round lead with Tom Watson, shot a 7-under 63 in the final round on the Scottish style 6,832 yard, par-70 course at The Moors Golf Club. His final score topped the record of 197, set by Gil Morgan in 2000.

The four-stroke victory margin also tied a tournament record that Morgan set in 2000.

''It was really fun because I wasn't nervous. I felt in control,'' Gilder said. ''You only get nervous when you're not playing well.''

Leonard Thompson, Larry Nelson and Vicente Fernandez tied for second at 197, two strokes ahead of Tom Purtzer and Dana Quigley. Graham Marsh and Bobby Wadkins finished at 200.

Gilder is the eighth different winner in as many Champions Tour events this year. He is the ninth different winner in the Emerald Coast's nine years.

The final round started with 10 golfers bunched within three strokes of the lead, but Gilder took control by making birdie on the first three holes. Watson faded just as quickly with a bogey on the first hole, par on the second and another bogey on the third.

Watson finished in a tie for 15th place, 11 strokes back at 204. That continued his Florida frustration. Watson now has played 85 PGA and Champions Tour events in the Sunshine State without a victory during a professional career spanning three decades.

Gilder won $217,500 from a purse of $1.45 million. It was his seventh Champions Tour title.

Defending champion Dave Eichelberger finished 22 strokes back at 215.

Morgan, who finished eight strokes back at 201, retained his Charles Schwab Cup lead with 717 points, including a 240-point bonus for leading through the first quarter of the season. Quigley is second with 598 points.

The tournament next year will become the Blue Angel Classic. The new name will honor the Navy's Blue Angels precision flying team based at nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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