Tue, Jul 15, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Kenny Perry wins Milwaukee Open

AP , MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Kenny Perry sank a three-foot birdie putt Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Steve Allan and Heath Slocum at the Greater Milwaukee Open.

"I don't know why all of a sudden I'm winning golf tournaments," Perry said after his third win in four starts. "It's just my time, and I believe in my heart I'm going to win."

He won the Colonial and Memorial tournaments and finished third at the US Open before taking three weeks off leading up to the GMO at Brown Deer Park, where he shot a 4-under-par 66 Sunday for a 12-under 268 total.

Brett Quigley finished in fourth, two strokes back.

Allan, Slocum and Quigley all were vying for their first PGA Tour victory.

"I had nothing to lose and those guys are fighting to win their first," said Perry, a seven-time winner on Tour who surpassed US$13 million in career winnings.

Perry had to rally after his one-shot lead over Allan turned into a three-stroke deficit over a 16-minute span thanks to a bogey on the 12th hole and a double-bogey on No. 13.

Over the final four holes, Perry, who began the day with a one-stroke lead over six golfers, including Allan, had three birdies and a par and Allan shot three pars and a bogey.

Allan was on the practice range hoping for a playoff when he watched on a big screen as Perry hit his iron shot into thick rough 20 feet past the hole on 18 and then chipped to within three feet of the hole.

"When I saw the chip, I pretty much expected him to make it," Allan said. "He's a good putter."

Slocum, who had already birdied 18, also knew there would be no playoff.

"He'd been putting well all day," Slocum said. "I expected him to make it."

Perry felt great about his chances.

"I blasted out of that stuff and I had a 3-footer straight uphill to win," he said. "What kind of putt would you like to win the golf tournament but straight in under the hole uphill?"

Perry birdied No. 17 after seeing that Allan had bogeyed the hole.

"I said, `Oh my goodness, if I birdie the last two holes, I can win the golf tournament,'" said Perry, who sank a 22-footer on 17.

Perry's first-place check of US$630,000 gives him US$3,522,538 for the year, the first time he's passed the US$3 million mark.

Allan, who had made just one cut and won just US$8,240 this year, and Slocum each got US$308,000.

Perry had finished in the top five the last three years and the GMO. Since the GMO moved to Brown Deer Park in 1994, the winning score had ranged from 15 to 24 under par.

One reason for the higher scores is the fourth hole was changed from a par-5 to a par-4 with the removal of a large oak tree, although it's still 485 yards to the hole. Perry parred the hole all four days.

Weekend conditions were ideal for scoring after wind and rains hampered play the first two days, but the notoriously thick rough was higher than normal, putting the US Open to shame and the pin placement was very difficult.

Last year's winner, Jeff Sluman, won at 23 under when the course played to a par-71.

The Tour implemented tougher pin placement and higher rough starting with the Sony Open, the first full field event of the season. Those changes proved most pronounced at the 6,759-yard Brown Deer Park course, one of the shortest on the PGA Tour.

"There has been a conscious effort to make things a little bit more difficult," PGA rules official Dillard Pruitt said.

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