Originally created 09/07/98

Sluman wins Greater Milwaukee Open



MILWAUKEE -- Jeff Sluman, who went nine years between his first and second PGA Tour wins, only waited 19 months for No. 3 as he beat hometown favorite Steve Stricker by one stroke to win the Greater Milwaukee Open on Sunday.

Sluman, who won the PGA Championship in 1988 and the Tucson Classic last year, bogeyed No. 18 for a 3-under-par 68 and a 19-under 265 total that earned him $324,000.

Stricker, who also closed with a 68, was the favorite of the gallery and the resident of nearby Madison made it interesting at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.

He began the final round one stroke behind co-leaders Sluman and Chris Perry and climbed back into contention with birdies on the final four holes, duplicating what he did Saturday.

Stricker, who became a father for the first time last Monday, had said that winning what amounts to his backyard tournament would be "more special" to him than any other.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation as he walked up the 18th fairway.

Sluman had an eagle on No. 6 when his second shot on the par-5 found the heavy rough off the green about 20 feet away. He punched his left hand in encouragement as his ball bent slightly left and rolled into the center of the cup.

Perry closed with a 71 and was tied for third at 268 with Mark Calcavecchia and Nolan Henke, who both shot 69s.

Sluman played steady, controlled golf all day, needing just 12 putts on the first 11 holes.

Perry, a Minnesota native whose father Jim pitched for Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit and Oakland during his major league career, looked to win his five-ever PGA tournament since joining the tour in 1984.

Playing with Sluman, Perry was one stroke behind before bogeying Nos. 8 and 9 and he never recovered. He left birdie putts short on two of the last three holes.

PGA champion Vijay Singh, making his first appearance in Milwaukee and one of the hottest golfers coming into the tournament, finished with a 70 and was at 278, and never challenged for the lead.

First-round leader Loren Roberts, who tied a tournament course record with an opening 62, shot a 73 for a 277 total. Scott Hoch, who won the tournament last year and in 1995, finished with a 73 for a 279 total.