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U.S. SENIOR OPEN

Off-Course Kite Benefits Jacobsen

August 02, 2004|From Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Peter Jacobsen played 36 holes with a sore hip and still rallied to win the U.S. Senior Open after Tom Kite double-bogeyed the final hole.

Jacobsen shot a three-under 68 over the final 18 and was 12 under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of Hale Irwin. Kite played four over for the last four holes and finished third at 10 under, tied with Jay Haas. Bob Gilder was fifth, another stroke behind.

Jacobsen was forced to pull out of two previous tournaments after hip surgery, and had to walk 36 holes on Sunday after rain washed out play Friday. It was the first time the field at a Champions Tour event played 36 holes in one day. Unlike regular Champions Tour events, carts aren't allowed in the five majors.

But Jacobsen rallied from three strokes down with 12 holes to play, thanks in large part to Kite, who bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16. He shot par on 17, leaving him in a tie with Jacobsen.

Kite, playing in a group ahead of Jacobsen, landed his drive on 18 in a fairway bunker. His attempt to get out hit the lip and bounced sideways a few feet away, and into a rough.

Moments after Kite's double-bogey, Jacobsen earned his first win on the Champions Tour with a par on 18.

It was Kite's second heartbreaking loss in two weeks after he lost the Senior British Open to Delaware club pro Pete Oakley by one stroke last weekend. Kite hasn't won in 21 months but has finished second seven times.

Irwin and Haas, who have ties to St. Louis, thrilled the hometown crowd with late rallies. Irwin, who has a home just a few miles from Bellerive Country Club, birdied No. 17 to get to 11 under, but could only par 18. Haas, who grew up in nearby Belleville, Ill., birdied No. 17 to get to 10 under.

Jacobsen was under par for all four rounds, and was at his best Sunday despite the strain on his hip. He followed a two-under 69 in the morning with a three-under 68 in the afternoon.

Kite was eight under during one 17-hole stretch. He shot a six-under 65 in the morning round, and was at four under during the afternoon round before struggling on the final four holes.

Kite entered Sunday at five under, two strokes behind co-leaders Jacobsen and Craig Stadler.

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