Irwin's consistency takes Senior Tour by storm Cattail Creek to be host of pro-am event in August

July 16, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Hale Irwin was expected to win on the Senior PGA Tour as soon as he turned 50 in June of last year. He has done that, but, more importantly, has risen to a level of consistency not even he could have predicted.

In zooming to the top of the current money list, Irwin, who won twice last year and has two wins this season, has not finished worse than a tie for eighth in 14 starts. Included are an eye-popping eight top-three finishes.

For the four major championships, he won the PGA Seniors, and finished second in the other three -- the Tradition, U.S. Senior Open and Senior Players. Overall, he has become the quickest to reach $1 million in earnings, doing so in 13 events. The previous record was 17 events, by Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd.

"In many ways, this is my best year ever," Irwin said yesterday during a news conference.

"Certainly it is in money-winning, but maybe more importantly, it is my most consistent year in executing what I want to do. Yet, to attribute it to one thing -- I can't."

Area golf fans will be able to see Irwin when 20 Senior Tour pros play in the inaugural $200,000 Toyota Invitational, Aug. 12-13, at Cattail Creek Country Club in western Howard County.

The format calls for a pro-am on the 12th, with the pros' scores counting as their first tournament round. On the 13th, they will play their second round, while teaming with 20 Middle Atlantic PGA pros and their respective club champions. MAPGA members will be playing for $15,000, with $5,000 to the winner, the largest one-day purse and first prize in the association's 71-year history.

The charity arm of this event is under the leadership of the FORE Baltimore Foundation, which makes donations to local charities that focus on children. Primary recipients will be the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the Children's National Medical Center and the Chesapeake Foundation.

The event, to be managed by Columbia-based EMCEE Sports, will be a dry run for a future Senior Tour event in the area. If this does not occur in 1997, and that appears to be a distinct possibility at this time, another pro-am will be held in its place.

"We have been talking with the tour people about a possible tournament for the last two years," said John Mathews, tournament director. "The conversations have gone well, but now we need to make a significant impact."

Baltimore, without an annual tour event since the Tournament Players Series of 1983-84, "is the nation's largest market without a professional tour event," Mathews added. "I think it's time we brought one back."

Ticket information is available by calling (410) 992-5500.

Senior Tour pros: Jim Albus, Buddy Allin, Brian Barnes, John Paul Cain, Charles Coody, Bruce Crampton, Jim Dent, Bruce Devlin, Bob Eastwood, Dave Eichelberger, Gibby Gilbert, David Graham, Hale Irwin, Jack Kiefer, Jerry McGee, John Schroeder, Tom Shaw, J. C. Snead, Bruce Summerhays, DeWitt Weaver.

MAPGA pros: Mike Ahrnsbrak, Glen Barrett, Wayne DeFrancesco, Bob Dolan, Jim Fitzgerald, Bill Horney, Greg Jones, Robert Leeman, Bud Lintelman, Steve Madsen, John McCloskey, Mike McGinnis, Larry Ringer, John Sarrett, Dennis Satyshur, Bill Sporre, Greg Stark, Gene Ward, Lyle Williams, Trent Wright.

Pub Date: 7/16/96

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