Tue, Aug 21, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Mark McNulty wins his first golf major

THE TRADITION Despite suffering from back problems and having been unable to finish in the top 10 at a tournament this season, McNulty dominated in Oregon

AP , SUNRIVER, OREGON

Mark McNulty, from Orlando, Florida, looks inside his trophy after winning The Tradition golf tournament at Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver, Oregon, on Sunday. McNulty shot a four-day score of 16-under 272 to win the tourney by five strokes.

PHOTO: AP

Mark McNulty coolly shot a 68 to win The Tradition by five strokes on Sunday, his first victory in a golf major.

McNulty didn't falter until the end, when he double-bogeyed the 18th hole at Crosswater Golf Club. When he missed a 1.2m putt, he recalled words of advice from Gary Player.

"Gary Player always said, `Mark, as long as you win by one, you've won,'" McNulty said.

McNulty finished the Champions Tour event with a 16-under 272. His co-leader going into the final round, David Edwards, shot a 73 to finish at 11 under. D.A. Weibring finished at 10 under with a 72.

McNulty, who had six birdies on the final day to go along with his double-bogey, has had lower back problems and had not finished in the top 10 at a tournament this season. He birdied four of the first seven holes, setting him on the course for victory.

"It was my tournament to lose, but I still had to earn it," he said.

He splashed on to the Champions Tour in 2004 and was named rookie of the year. With Sunday's victory, he has six total victories on the tour for players 50 and older.

Before joining the Champions Tour, McNulty played primarily on the European PGA Tour. His best finish in a major was when he tied for second with Payne Stewart in the 1990 British Open, five strokes behind Nick Faldo.

McNulty was steady all day and didn't even show much emotion in the end when he won. He simply shook the hands of the other players and caddies in his group.

"Today I was at ease," McNulty said about his cool demeanor. "It was quite unbelievable how fortunate and lucky I was. I didn't feel any jitterbugs as all."

Edwards, who joined the Champions Tour last year and had three top-10 finishes before The Tradition, had four bogeys and three birdies in the final round. Edwards and McNulty went into the final day with a two-stroke advantage.

Edwards said his back was giving him trouble all day, perhaps because of the weather.

"So I didn't hit very many shots to warm up and I didn't practice any at all after the rounds," Edwards said.

McNulty is the second straight international player to win the event after Argentina's Eduardo Romero won last year. Romero finished this year with a 3-under 285.

Money leader Jay Haas also finished 3 under. Loren Roberts, who won The Tradition in 2005, and Tom Kite each finished at 8 under.

The Tradition is the fourth of five majors on the Champions Tour. Tom Watson won the British Open, Brad Bryant took the US Senior Open and Denis Watson won the Senior PGA Championship.

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