Jenkins takes Classic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2003

The Bruno’s Memorial Classic got its twelfth different winner in as many years when Tom Jenkins shot a 5-under-par 67 Sunday in the final round of the event.

Jenkins held off faltering competitors Hale Irwin, Bruce Fleisher and Jim Colbert and wrapped two 67s around a 66 to finish at 16 under and cruise to just his fourth win in five years on the Champions Tour.

&uot;It’s a great day,&uot; Jenkins said.

&uot;It’s always a great feeling to go head-to-head with those guys and beat them.&uot;

Irwin, a three-time U.S. Open champion and winner of the 2001 Bruno’s Memorial Classic, led after the first two rounds.

An uncharacteristic 1-over 73 on Sunday opened the door for Jenkins. Irwin is winless in seven events on the Champions Tour this season.

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

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

Jenkins didn’t have to do anything spectacular to wrap up the win, as Irwin stumbled the entire day.

Jenkins parred the final four holes.

&uot;I thought it was going to come down to the last hole and somebody’s going to have to birdie to win,&uot; Jenkins said. &uot;But you never know.&uot;

The Champions Tour top career winner with 36 wins, Irwin is now 0-for-7 on the year. He was the only player in the tournament to play the first 38 holes without a bogey.

He then made four bogeys on his final 12 holes. The bogeys came in pairs on three and four and then 13 and 14 to fall out of the race.

Irwin had a 65-67 in the first two rounds and showed his frustration after his early bogeys, throwing his ball down on No. 4 and leaning on his club as if in disbelief.

&uot;I just never seemed to get my feet under me,&uot; Irwin said. &uot;I seemed to be left-footing myself all day. Nothing against left-footers, but I’m right-footed.&uot;

Jenkins and Fleisher both opened the day one stroke behind Irwin, but overtook him during the first nine holes on Sunday.

Fleisher, who finished in second place, remained in contention until a rough closing stretch.

Fleisher had a five foot par putt break left on No. 16 and bogeyed again on No. 18 to put him out of contention.

&uot;At 18, I was just trying to save face,&uot; Fleisher said.

&uot;I hit about an 8-footer for bogey. What a game! It’s humbling.&uot;

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