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Colbert Wins Third Title This Year

May 12, 1996

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (AP) _ Jim Colbert conquered the windy conditions Sunday and became the senior tour’s first three-time winner of the year.

Colbert had four birdies and a lone bogey in his final-round 3-under-par 69 to win the PGA Nationwide Championship by three strokes.

Colbert, one shot behind leader Bob Charles entering the final round, took charge early over the windswept 6,777-yard Golf Club of Georgia course and finished the 54 holes at 10-under 206. He earned $180,000 with his second victory in three weeks.

``The wind kept changing today,″ Colbert said. ``I felt it was important to just pick a club and hit it right away and not think about it.″

It worked.

``My swing felt very good and my irons were very solid,″ he said. ``I tried to keep the ball under the trees, away from those winds.″

Isao Aoki was second at 209 after a 70, while leading money-winner Hale Irwin was another stroke back after a 68.

Charles struggled to a final-round 75, but birdied No. 18 to gain a share of fourth place with John Bland and Harold Henning at 211. Bland had a 69 and Henning a 72.

``I never thought I had it until my drive on 18,″ Colbert said. ``You can say what you want. The newspapers will have me winning by three shots _ a walk in the park _ it wasn’t.″

What Colbert did do, however, was play the wind better than any of the other leaders.

``My mindset was, and this may be redundant, hit the fairways and the greens,″ he said. ``With the wind the way it was, it was going to be hard for anybody to shoot a 65.″

Charles had a double-bogey on No. 2 and a bogey on 3.

``I feel the wind cost me three strokes today. It knocked me out of contention,″ Charles said. ``But as far as that goes, I didn’t play well, didn’t swing well and got what I deserved.″

``Bob had a couple of bad breaks today,″ Colbert said. ``The wind really hurt him on No. 2. When he hit the ball, it was like a hurricane had come up, blowing the ball right back to us and into the creek.″

Defending champion Bob Murphy led a group of four at 212. Murphy had a 74.

Tour rookie Bobby Stroble, one shot off the lead entering Sunday, skied to a 79 and was at even-par 216.

``I wasn’t really nervous. I just didn’t play well,″ said Stroble, whose best finish was a tie for sixth in February at the Greater Naples Intellinet tourney.

Colbert took the lead on No. 2 when he birdied the 339-yard par-4 that Charles double-bogeyed by hitting his first shot in a creek and three-putting.

He had four birdies in his round and his only bogey came on No. 3, a hole that Charles also bogeyed.

Colbert won the Toshiba Senior Classic earlier in the year and the Las Vegas Senior Classic two weeks ago. In the latterm he beat Charles in a playoff. Colbert’s earnings for the year jumped to $628,094, second to Irwin, whose paycheck of $86,400 lifted him to $772,125.

Colbert, who won four events and was the No. 1 money-winner with more than $1.4 last season, drew away from the field with birdies on Nos. 7, 8 and 12.

The 55-year-old Colbert, in his sixth year on the senior tour, has 16 victories and earnings of more than $5.5 million.

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