Originally created 05/08/00

Fleisher wins third title of season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bruce Fleisher never wanted to be the man to beat on the Senior PGA Tour. After his 10th win in 44 tournaments, he's got little choice now.

Fleisher won his third event of the season Sunday, making a birdie on the third playoff hole to beat Hubert Green and retain his Home Depot Invitational title.

"One of the problems I have is that I've started so fast out here people expect things and therefore I tend to put more pressure on myself and my self image," said Fleisher, who is closing in on $1 million after 13 tourneys. "People expect a lot and I never wanted that. That costs a lot of athletes, and especially golfers, because they don't want that label.

"I am not real comfortable with it, never have been since I've joined the senior tour."

Sorry, but many would argue that Fleisher has now passed Hale Irwin as the tour's best player.

"They talk about me being a good chipper," said Green. "Well, this man here is -- whew! I don't know what he's studying or doing but I want to go to that school. He is chipping the ball beautifully."

"Hubert is the best chipper out here, so for him to say that it's nice. I feel flattered," Fleisher said of his short game that was a key Sunday.

Fleisher, who closed with a 68 at TPC Piper Glen, is the only player on the 50-and-over circuit to win more than once this year. He earned $195,000 with the victory to move within $17,000 of $1 million.

Fleisher and Green each matched the tournament record with 13-under-par 203 finishes. Bob Murphy, Lee Trevino and Don Bies also share that 54-hole mark.

Both players birdied and parred the first two playoff holes before Fleisher hit a 90-yard approach shot to 3 feet on the par-5 18th hole. Green missed his 12-foot birdie attempt just left and Fleisher -- after backing away because a fan yelled his name -- sank his short one for the win.

"I don't care how short the putt is, it's still hard," Fleisher said of his winner. "It still comes down to nerves and all the anxiety and excitement."

John Jacobs, who won in a playoff last week, shot a 2-under 70 to tie David Lundstrom for third at 9-under 207. Lundstrom, the tourney's first-round leader with a 66, carded a 71 Sunday.

Fleisher started the day two shots behind Green, and quickly fell further behind when Green birdied the first two holes. But the leading money winner captured the Home Depot and first playoff win on tour as Green needed 30 putts before the playoff started.

"I didn't sleep good last night. I tossed and turned," said Green. "But that's the way it's supposed to be. That's what makes it fun. The enjoyment is that it's not an average day. There is a little excitement and a little bit more aggravation."

Fleisher was able to birdie No. 2 himself and then added birdies at No. 5 and No. 9 to make the turn at 33 and pull even with Green at 12 under.

He then took the lead with 9-footer on No. 10 and extended his margin to as many as two through 15 holes.

Green closed within one shot on No. 16 when his chip shot from the fringe rolled to two feet for birdie. Fleisher left his 12-footer short.

Both players carded pars on the par-3 17 hole, and both players hit solid approach shots on No. 18.

Green was the first to play, and his 21-foot downhill putt rolled into the left side of the cup to tie it.

Fleisher, who had putted well all day, missed his 15-footer an inch to the left.


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