Senior youngster Gibson wins first of Hobbit's Glen pro-ams

He builds top round of 66 on several birdie putts

State Farm Senior Classic notebook

July 01, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Fred Gibson, who had achieved a measure of success at Hobbit's Glen Golf Course in the past, reeled off seven birdies in a 6-under-par round of 32-3466 yesterday, winning the first of two scheduled pro-ams being held in conjunction with this week's State Farm Senior PGA Tour Classic.

Gibson, 51, who dropped several long-range putts in his winning trip, is in his second Senior Tour season after having qualified among the top eight in two successive qualifying schools in 1997 and '98.

In his first try, he survived a three-for-one playoff to get the final spot. Last December, he went into the final round tied for fifth and struggled to a 74. It turned out to be good enough for a one-stroke margin on Mike Malone.

In between he played in 32 events, earned some $276,000 and placed 56th on the money list. His year included two top-10 finishes, and a 69-67 start that left him two shots out of the lead at the inaugural State Farm event, before a closing 75 left him tied for 17th.

Gibson has had two good chances to win this year, but a closing 75 dropped him to eighth in Las Vegas, and a 72 (after starting 69-68) left him tied for ninth in San Antonio two weeks ago. He has earned $150,319 in 18 events, good for 55th on the money list.

"Surviving the qualifying school is tougher than playing a tour event because of the pressure," Gibson said, "and it was harder the second time because you know you belong, but you still have to do it."

Super Seniors

A pro-am involving 13 of the aged 60-over pros will be held this morning with a 9 o'clock shotgun start at The Woodlands Golf Course in Woodlawn.

Added starters

Sponsor exemptions went to Evan "Big Cat" Williams, Jim Holtgrieve, John Schroeder and Christy O'Connor. Steve Veriato, Jerry Tucker, Daniel Zboyan and Edward Williams are in via Monday's qualifier at Queenstown Harbor Golf Links.

Jay Sigel withdrew late in the afternoon to return to his Berwyn, Pa., home. His wife is scheduled to undergo back surgery tomorrow. Jerry Heard took his place in the field. Holtgrieve, who turned 50 in December 1997 , turned professional last September. He has gotten into events either via a sponsor's exemption or as a Monday qualifier.

"It's a whole new atmosphere," said the former amateur star, who qualified for 36 USGA championships and played on three Walker Cup teams.

"I enjoy it, but I'm not giving myself enough patience. I expected more quicker and now I need to get my confidence going."

Pro-Am results

Low pros: Fred Gibson 66; Terry Dill 67; Ed Dougherty 69; Bruce Fleisher 69; David Lundstrom 69; Larry Laoretti 70; Rocky Thompson 70; Dana Quigley 70; Christy O'Connor 71; Jim Thorpe 71; Simon Hobday 71; Bob Charles 71.

Low teams: Calvin Peete, Steve Gigliotti, Hal Donofrio, Barry Tate, Jack Miller, 53; Simon Hobday, Tom Booth, Stewart Lenitas, Brian Culloty, Robert Roman, 54; Gay Brewer, Jim Weiskopf, Bennett Zier, David Talley, Tod Castleberry, 54; Homero Blancas, Fred Mitchell, Bob Sarvis, Terry Mitchell, Russ Moffitt, 55; David Lundstrom, Blase Cooke, Theo Rogers, Gary Garoalo, David Carney, 55; Miller Barber, Matt Trotta, John Green, Bill Crawford, Scott Bell, 55.

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