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Dave Eichelberger Wins Transamerica

October 13, 1997

NAPA, Calif. (AP) _ Dave Eichelberger birdied the final two holes Sunday to cap a final-round 2-under-par 70 and win the $800,000 Transamerica seniors tournament by four strokes over a group of four.

Eichelberger’s victory, his first of the year and third as a senior, was worth $120,000 and increased his earnings in his best season as a senior to $728,922.

``I realized I was playing good for a few weeks,″ Eichelberger said. ``I was hoping to win a tournament.″

Eichelberger started the final round at 6,632-yard Silverado Country Club course with a one-stroke lead and he was three strokes off the lead after the 10th hole.

Frank Conner had a 67 to lead the group at 209 and he was joined by Terry Dill, 71, John Jacobs, 72, and DeWitt Weaver, 73.

Dan Wood, who had a 68, and Jimmy Powell, 73, were both at 210, while another four were tied at 211.

Four golfers were all within one stroke of the lead after 15 holes Sunday, but a rash of bogeys, and one triple-bogey, gave Eichelberger the advantage over the final holes.

``I got off to a horrible start,″ Eichelberger said. ``The first three or four holes I wasn’t sure what was going on.″

Weaver, Powell and Jacobs were all at 8-under, one stroke behind Eichelberger, going to the 16th hole.

Weaver, who missed a short putt to bogey 15, also bogeyed 17. Powell grounded his club in a hazard on 17 and wound up with a triple-bogey. Jacobs bogeyed 16.

Powell had a lie against a tree on 17, and without realizing he was in a hazard, grounded his club. He took a two-stroke penalty for that, and a one-stroke penalty for lifting the ball and taking the penalty.

Meanwhile, Eichelberger parred Nos. 12 through 16, then birdied 17 to take a three-stroke lead into the final hole.

``I went back to sticking with one method of attack and it started to work,″ Eichelberger said.

At various times during the final round, Weaver and Powell each had the lead in addition to Eichelberger.

Eichelberger, ranked 19th on the money list entering the tournament, took over the lead for good on 15 when Weaver missed his short putt to bogey.

``In my opinion, I lost the tournament on the 13th hole,″ Weaver said of his bogey there. ``I went against my game plan and went dead at the hole. On 15, the putt did a 360 around the hole and came back. I don’t know how that one missed.″

Eichelberger, who closed with a 62 last week to finish a stroke behind Hale Irwin at the Vantage Championship, had the lead after two rounds. First-round leader Larry Nelson shot a 73 and finished at 211.

Eichelberger was down by three strokes after the 10th hole, but played solid golf the rest of the way.

``After that start, I was scrambling to get back to par,″ he said. ``After I birdied the 17th I felt confident. Until then, it was all up in the air.″

Johnny Miller, a Silverado resident, shot a final round 70 and finished at 215. Arnold Palmer’s closing 73 left him at 219.

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