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SENIOR PLAYERS Irwin, seeking 12th major, leads by one



Published: Sun, July 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Hale Irwin moved closer to his 12th career major victory, shooting a third straight 4-under 68 Saturday for a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Senior Players Championship.

Still dominant more than a month after turning 60, Irwin moved to 12-under 204, a stroke ahead of Dana Quigley (72), Gil Morgan (67) and Tom McKnight (70).

Don Pooley (65) is two shots back, and Peter Jacobsen (71), David Eger (65) and Doug Tewell (65) trail by three.

Tom Watson (70), Gary McCord (69) and Ron Streck (72), who is coming off a victory last week, are among five players tied at 8 under.

While the leaderboard is crowded, it might not be easy to keep up with Irwin in Sunday's final round at the TPC at Michigan.

Tough in the lead

Irwin, the winner of eight senior majors, has won 28 of 37 events on the 50-and-over tour when he led or shared the lead entering the final round. The Champions Tour's leading money winner has eight top-10 finishes in the last 10 Senior Players tournaments and matched the course record of 21 under when he won in 1999.

After victories at the Turtle Bay Championship in January and the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in February, Irwin hasn't finished better than sixth since while struggling with his putting and a sore back.

Quigley, slowed by a hip ailment, is playing his 264th consecutive tournament and the 278th straight that he's been eligible for. If his hip doesn't improve, his eight-year run with end Sunday because of doesn't want to sit through a long flight to the Senior British Open.

The Senior Players is the first of three straight majors, followed by the Senior British in two weeks at Royal Aberdeen and the U.S. Senior Open the following week in Ohio.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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