Kite Flies High Mother Nature

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 13, 2003, 4:00 pm
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Tom Kite knew that his only chance of winning the Senior Players Championship rested on his ability to shoot a very low score on Sunday.
He did, but it still wasn't enough.
Kite tied the TPC of Michigan's course record with a 9-under 63, but his four-day total of 14-under 264 was three shots behind winner Craig Stadler.
'We all knew Craig was going to be a significant force on this tour as soon as he got acclimated,' Kite said. 'Unfortunately, he decided to do that this week.'
Kite parred the first four holes, then birdied three in a row. After back-to-back pars gave him a front-nine 33, he had four birdies, an eagle and a bogey for a back-nine 30. He equaled the course record set by Jim Colbert in 1995 and matched by Hubert Green last year.
'That was a very special stretch of holes,' Kite said. 'I hit the ball well tee to green and made some putts. That made for a fun day.'
Kite's most spectacular shot was a 256-yard 5-wood on the par-5 17th to set up a birdie.
'That was pretty neat,' he said. 'It's a fun feeling to be able to knock a 5-wood onto the green like that and give myself a chance at picking up another shot.'

Kite wasn't the only player who threatened the course record on Sunday. Tom Purtzer, who started the day in a tie for 15th, was also at 9-under before bogies at 16 and 18.
Purtzer birdied the first three holes and was 8-under after just 12, but played the final six holes in 1-over.
'After the first three holes, I was thinking about making 10 birdies and getting myself right back into this,' he said. 'I've never had it that far under par that early in a round before, so I didn't really know what to do.'
Purtzer's record attempt ended when he missed the fairway on 16 and missed the green at 18.
'I was really rolling until I hit that bad drive on 16,' he said. 'That was a disappointing way to finish.'
Although rain had been in the forecast in each of the tournament's first three days, the only delay of the weekend came at the very end of Sunday's final round. Thunderstorms stopped play for nearly two hours with three groups left on the course.
'That was some crazy weather,' Kite said. 'I heard the thunder just as I was getting ready to putt out on 18, so my timing was perfect.'
Kite joked that he hoped the delay would cause Stadler to stiffen up, but he finished the final two holes without incident.
Jack Spradlin had the strangest weekend of the field, shooting 87-69. He finished tied for 64th at 11-over 299. ... Stadler and Jim Thorpe were the only players to shoot three rounds in the 60s. Both missed in the windy second round -- Stadler shooting 73 and Thorpe 72. ... Defending champion Stewart Ginn finished with a 2-under 70 and ended up in a tie for 15th at 286.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Ford Senior Players Championship
  • Ford Senior Players Championship Leaderboard
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