Bruce Crampton, a five-time winner on the PGA Senior Tour this y
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ Bruce Crampton, a five-time winner on the PGA Senior Tour this year, begins defense of his title Friday in the $250,000 Las Vegas Senior Classic.
Crampton, second on the senior money list to Chi Chi Rodriguez, said his victory last year on the Desert Inn Country Club course gives him a boost going into the 54-hole golf tournament.
″On the positive side, I know I can win on this golf course,″ he said.
Crampton shot a final round 4-under-par 68 last year to capture the event, but said the victory doesn’t necessarily make him the favorite this year.
″The way I played last year has nothing to do with the way I’ll play this year,″ he said. ″Everybody expects you to carry on as you did last year, but that’s not always the case.″
Crampton’s win last year helped him pocket a record $454,299 for the season and earn Player of the Year honors. He has won $411,733 already this year and his five wins are second only to Rodriguez.
″I don’t have any doubt I can achieve out here,″ said Crampton, who joined the senior tour last year when he turned 50. ″That’s very important psychologically because I’m more confident now with my play than I was before. I put that down to being more secure. I feel I can trust every part of my game now more than I ever have.″
Crampton, who played all the tour events last year, resumed his relentless playing schedule this year. The Las Vegas tournament is his 30th of the year.
″We play a different golf course under a different set of conditions each week, which is like going to a different office,″ he said. ″To me, there’s nothing personal in golf. I just play the golf courses.″
A field of 52 golfers begin play Friday at the Desert Inn, which many of the golfers played in the 1960s when the Tournament of Champions was held at the course.
The course bears little resemblance to what the golfers remembers, however. With maturity, what was once a flat and wide open layout has become a tree- lined course with tightly-guarded and heavily contoured greens.