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Al Geiberger Wins Greater Naples Challenge

February 12, 1996

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) _ Al Geiberger shot a 71 Sunday, including a key birdie on the 17th hole, to win the Senior PGA Greater Naples IntelliNet Challenge.

It was Geiberger’s first victory since 1993.

Geiberger finished the 54-hole event at 14-under-par 202, one shot in front of Isao Aoki, who closed with a 67.

Simon Hobday shot 69 and finished third, two strokes behind the winner.

Raymond Floyd, who began the day three shots back of Geiberger, missed a four-foot birdie attempt on 16 and bogeyed 18 for a final-round 71. He finished in a fourth-place tie with Jimmy Powell at 11-under.

Geiberger earned $90,000 for his 10th career Senior Tour title.

Geiberger, who had three birdies and two bogeys, allowed Aoki to take a share of the lead by three-putting the par-3 16th hole from 28 feet.

``That was the low point of my day,″ Geiberger said. ``It had started looking like I had a chance to win and it seem like I wanted to hand it to them.″

But a 40-yard sand wedge to four feet on the par-5 17th set up the key birdie putt.

Two years ago, Geiberger missed almost the entire season with a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Last year, after limping through the season, he had surgery to remove bone spurs from the big toe on his right foot. He underwent surgery in early December and did not hit his first practice ball until two week before arriving for the tournament.

``I’m not in the habit of winning,″ said Geiberger, who shot a course-record second-round 63. ``There was a lot of doubts you go through trying to overcome having not won. A lot of things happened, good and bad, but I just kept plugging along.

``I had wondered, `Will I ever win again?′ I had been struggling to get in the top 10. If I’m struggling this much for a top 10, will I ever win?″

He answered that question by safely parring the 18th, two-putting after a 7-iron to 10 feet.

``I was very happy to see the ball fly at the green,″ he said. ``I saw it was on the green and the crowd was cheering. I felt awfully good. They started to congratulate me but I said, `Hey, I’ve got to two-putt from 10 feet and I am 58 years old.‴

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