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Jenkins moves in after Irwin fades at Bruno's

5/5/2003

HOOVER, Ala. -- Tom Jenkins shot a 5-under par 67 Sunday while his chief competitors were faltering to win the Bruno's Memorial Classic by three strokes.

Jenkins wrapped two 67s around a 66 to finish at 16 under to cruise past Bruce Fleisher and Hale Irwin for just his fourth win in five years on the Champions Tour.

''It was a great day,'' Jenkins said. ''It's always a great
feeling to go head-to-head with those guys and beat them.''

Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion, led after each of the
first two rounds, but faded badly with a 1-over 73. He is winless
on the season.

Irwin and Jim Colbert finished five shots back at 11 under to
tie for third.

''It was just one of those days that, if I hit it close, I
missed the putt,'' Irwin said. ''Tom played spectacularly.''

The Champions Tour has 10 winners in its first 10 events, the
longest streak with no repeat winner to start a season.

Jenkins missed a 3-footer for birdie on 15 that would have given
him a two-stroke lead over Fleisher. But Fleisher had a 5-foot putt
break left on the next hole and bogeyed again on No. 18.

Jenkins didn't have to do anything fancy to wrap up the win,
parring the final four holes.

''I thought it was going to come down to the last hole and
somebody's going to have to birdie to win,'' he said. ''But you
never know.''

The tour's top career winner with 36 victories, Irwin made a
rare stumble on the final day and is 0-for-7 this season. He was
the only golfer to make it through the tournament's first 38 holes
without a bogey, then had four in the next 12 holes.

Bad holes came in pairs as Irwin bogeyed the third and fourth,
then missed short putts to bogey Nos. 13 and 14 and fall out of
contention.

Irwin, the 2001 Bruno's winner, had a 65-67 in the first two
rounds. He showed his frustration after his early bogeys, throwing
his ball down on No. 4 and leaning on his club in disbelief.

''I just never seemed to get my feet under me,'' he said. ''I
seemed to be left-footing myself all day. Nothing against
left-footers, but I'm right-footed.''

Fleisher stayed in contention until his rough closing stretch.
He and Jenkins both opened the day one stroke behind Irwin, but
overtook him in the first nine holes.

''At 18, I was just trying to save face,'' Fleisher said. ''I
hit about an 8-footer for bogey. What a game! It's humbling.''

Notes
With its 12th champion in 12 years, Bruno's tied the
Kroger's Classic for the longest run in a tournament without a
repeat winner ... Colbert had his best tournament of the past two
seasons after finishing no higher than a tie for 12th during that
stretch.