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Daley Wins Senior Players Championship


Unheralded Joe Daley made his first victory a big one. The 51-year-old journeyman closed with a 2-under 70 to win the Senior Players Championship. The $2.7 million major - the third of five on the Champions Tour - was held at Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh.

Daley finished at 14-under 266, two strokes ahead of Tom Lehman (69) and three in front of Olin Browne (65).

Daley was winless in his short PGA Tour career, when he had one top-10 finish in 59 starts, and in 10 previous Champions Tour events his best close was a tie for fourth in the Senior PGA in May. He won twice on the Nationwide Tour, with his last title coming in the 2005 Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open.

But the win, in addition to being worth $405,000, gives the native Pennsylvanian full Champions Tour status for a calendar year.

"(It feels) like jumping out of an airplane," an exultant Daley said at greenside. "Except I'm not going 120 miles an hour."

Mark Calcavecchia began the final round tied with Daley at 12-under. But Calcavecchia, who won last week's Montreal Championship in Canada, could only muster an even-par 72 to finished tied for fourth at 10-under 270 with defending champion Fred Couples, who closed with a 71.

After a birdie and a bogey on the front nine for an even-par 35, two straight bogeys on the par-4s at Nos. 15 and 16 dropped Couples out of contention. Couples had been ailing all week because of his chronic bad back.

Kirk Triplett (66) and Bill Glasson (69) shared sixth at 271, while right behind was Kenny Perry (68) at 272. Michael Allen (69) and Fred Funk (72) tied for ninth at 273, while alone in 11th was Jeff Freeman (74).

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