Fleisher Wins Senior Debut
Feb. 07, 1999
KEY BISCAYNE (AP) _ Bruce Fleisher shot a 1-under-par 70 Sunday to win the season-opening Royal Caribbean Classic and become the fifth player to win in his Senior PGA Tour debut.
Fleisher, a former club pro from Miami, escaped trouble on the 18th hole to join Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and George Archer as winners in their debut.
Fleisher, who needed nearly 30 years to win $1.7 million on the regular tour, earned $150,000 in one weekend for his biggest career paycheck. He finished with an 8-under 205 at Crandon Park Golf Course.
Japan's Isao Aoki, who started the final round two strokes behind Fleisher, also closed with a 70 to finish at 207.
Leonard Thompson (66) and Dana Quigley (68) tied for third at 208.
Fleisher held a one-stroke lead over Aoki heading to the challenging par-4, 18th hole.
Both players drove into the mangroves on the right. Fleisher, though, managed to chip out into the fairway, while Aoki whiffed on his recovery attempt and then had to take a drop.
Fleisher's escape allowed him to make bogey and still win. Aoki finished with a double-bogey.
Raymond Floyd, starting the day 1-over, reeled off five birdies on the front nine and reached 5-under for the tournament before double-bogeying the 13th hole to fade from contention. Floyd finished five shots back and tied for seventh.