Colbert coolly takes Sr. Players Holds off Floyd by stroke for win GOLF

June 28, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Jim Colbert stayed calm, cool and collected yesterday -- his collection plate overflowing with the Senior Players Waterford crystal championship trophy and a check for $180,000.

His one-stroke victory over Raymond Floyd climaxes a two-tour career that has gotten better as Colbert, 52, has aged.

"This is the best round I've ever played under these circumstances on a course this tough," Colbert said after his 3-under-par 69 staved off Floyd and fast-closing Al Geiberger over the windblown TPC of Michigan course.

Colbert's 278 was 10-under for the demanding 6,876-yard Dearborn course, and he won by letting the rest of the field make the mistakes.

"I was much calmer playing because my game was so good," said Colbert, who avoided miscues until the 18th hole, by which time he had a three-stroke lead. "From the git-go, I had it together."

Colbert started the day as co-leader with Rocky Thompson, who vaulted in front with birdies on the first two holes. But Thompson bogeyed the fifth hole, then crashed and burned with a triple-bogey seven at No. 6.

"I decided to go for the pin, which was 15 feet from the edge of the water -- I hit a pitiful shot," said Thompson, who hit it into the water. "My tournament was shot right there."

Floyd, meanwhile, kept the heat on and pulled within a stroke of Colbert with birdies at the 12th and 13th holes. But his second shot at the rugged 14th stopped 35 feet from the pin, and he mis-hit his 6-foot second putt.

"That killed me," said Floyd, who shot 68 for 279 and edged Geiberger for second place by rifling a 4-iron a foot from the hole for birdie at 18.

Geiberger wasn't hitting it too shabbily, either.

"I had it rolling like I haven't for a long time," said Geiberger, who wound up with an eagle and six birdies.

Geiberger shot a 66 for 280, one shot ahead of Thompson, who shot 72. Geiberger got Colbert's attention by eagling the par-5 13th with a 10-foot putt, then birdieing the 14th from 7 feet. "That's like going eagle-eagle," Geiberger said, an admiring reference to birdieing the 429-yard 14th. "That put me into contention."

But Colbert made a 4-foot putt to save par at the 14th, then opened a two-shot lead by stiffing a 4-iron to 4 feet for birdie at the par-3 15th.

"It was a career shot for me there," he said. "I got a glimpse of a board and saw the scores of Ray and Al, and knew I needed something. I thought then if I could get another one at the 16th I'd win."

A 23-foot putt at No. 16 got the job done and let Colbert ease it home.

He gave everybody -- especially caddie Willie Miller -- a thrill when his approach stopped 1 foot from the lake at the back of the 17th green.

xTC "I thought Willie was going to have a heart attack," Colbert said, laughing. But he two-putted for par and the three-shot cushion he desired.

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