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GOLF ROUNDUP

Irwin Back Atop the Leader Board

April 21, 1996|From Associated Press

Hale Irwin, playing with patience but still cautious about his iron game, charged back into a two-shot lead Saturday after the third round of the PGA Seniors' Championship at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Despite bogeys at the par-3 15th and 17th holes, the entrance and exit to the so-called Bear Trap on the 6,702-yard Champion course, Irwin finished with a three-under-par 69 and a 54-hole total of seven-under 209.

"Generally, I'm happy with the way I played," said Irwin, the first-round leader who shot a 74 on Friday. "I was five under par through 14 holes and that's quite good out there."

Tied for second at 211 were Japan's Isao Aoki and Vicente Fernandez of Argentina. Brian Barnes of Scotland was at 212 after a 69, and New Zealand's Bob Charles at 213 after a 72.

Buddy Allin, the leader after Friday's round, never recovered after a double bogey at the sixth hole and shot 75 to finish at 214.

*

Loren Roberts took a Greg Norman-style lead into the final round of the MCI Heritage Classic at Hilton Head Island, S.C. after a 63 that included a record-tying front nine.

Roberts started with five consecutive birdies and tied a Harbour Town record with 30 halfway through the round. He got three more birdies on the back and had a 15-under 198 total, tying Irwin's 54-hole mark.

Roberts won't have Nick Faldo chasing him today--the Masters champion was 10 shots behind--or Norman, who was 12 back. But he will have Mark O'Meara, who shot 65 and was four shots back at 11 under.

O'Meara, who had a 30 on the front nine Thursday to tie a record shared by many, had birdies on six of the first seven holes.

Norman had four birdies on his last nine holes and shouted at a drunken fan on the 18th fairway. Norman's caddie, Tony Navarro, grabbed the man by the shoulders and pushed him to the ground.

The man was later arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge, said tournament director Mike Stevens.

*

Dottie Pepper and Margaret Platt shared the second-round lead as heavy rains and high winds disrupted play in the LPGA Chick-fil-A Charity Championships at Stockbridge, Ga.

Half the field was still on the course when play was halted at 2:45 p.m. after heavy downpours and hurricane warnings stopped play at 1:20 p.m.

Pepper and Platt were each at four under after completing nine holes of play. Play will resume today with the players finishing up second-round action.

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