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Gilder Last Man Standing in Windy Oklahoma

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Bob Gilder had seen days like this before. It was the same town ' Oklahoma City , and the same golf course ' Gaillardia ' just over two weeks ago. And, incidentally, a similar wind.
 
He was staying nearby with Doug Tewell, about to depart for a tournament in San Antonio. They thought they would come out to Gaillardia and play a few holes before they left.
 
But they didnt. It was way too windy, Gilder said. We dont play in that stuff. That might hurt you.
 
Sunday, they were forced to play in that stuff. Just like that day, the winds were howling ' 20 miles per hour steadily, gusts up to 35 m.p.h. And unlike that day, he played golf. He shot a 1-over 73, but it was good enough to give him the win in the Senior Tour Championship.
 
Gilder stepped over Bruce Lietzke en route to the victory. Lietzke had entered the fourth round ahead by one stroke, but Sunday was a day definitely not suited for his high shot and his broomstick putter.
 
The winds were unmerciful in scattering his shots to the four corners. Lietzke bobbed repeatedly as he tried to stand erect over the long putter, and finished with a 4-over 76. That was two behind Gilder and one behind Tewell, who shot a 69 and snuck in with second place.
 
I really had to play each shot one at a time, said Gilder. It was just that difficult. You really had to concentrate on every shot. You loose one of them and who knows where it might roll?
 
Gilder and Lietzke took turns owning the lead throughout the front nine, but the tournament swung Gilders way with suddenness at No. 11, where he birdied at the same time as Lietzke was making bogey. The next hole, No. 12, it happened again, Gilder notching another birdie while Lietzke bogeyed.
 
That opened a four-shot lead for Gilder, and the Oregon native hung together in the final holes for the victory.

I think the round pretty well got away from me in two categories, Lietzke said. I drove the ball poorly ' I think I missed five or six fairways today and I havent done that all week. I was playing out of the rough today and that really made it double-tough, hitting flyers out of the rough with this wind.
 
And my chipping was not good today. My stats for the last four days say Ive hit 94 percent of the greens, and I just havent had to hit many chips. My chip shots that were pretty much routine ' I didnt get any of them up-and-down.
 
And there was the matter of the putting.
 
A couple of times, I would have whiffed the ball if I would have continued the stroke. I was moving so much, he said. I was waiting for a little lull for about 10 seconds, but after that, you have to go ahead and pull the trigger.
 
The four-shot swing at Nos. 11 and 12 were a boon to Gilder and near-fatal to Lietzke.
 
I put it in the rough on 11 and couldnt put it on the green, said Lietzke. Then I hit a poor chip and bogeyed the hole. Gilder was in a fairway bunker and hit a marvelous shot up to 12 feet and made the birdie.
 
Twelve is a real hard left-to-right hole and I didnt want to lose the ball right. I hit what I thought was a great drive that just stayed straight and ended up in the left rough. I misjudged the flyer lie on my second shot and couldnt reach the green. He hit a beautiful shot (8-iron from 144 yards to four feet) in there and made the putt again.
 
That was really tough. I didnt necessarily lose the tournament right there, but it certainly put me way behind.
 
After those events, Gilder surely didnt think it was over. But he appreciated what it meant, gaining four shots of those two holes.
 
Im not going to say it took the wind out of anybodys sails, but it would have me, Gilder said. But to his credit, he hung right in there and had an opportunity on the last hole.
 
That came at 18 with Lietzke having one final chance, standing two shots behind. It was a par-5 and Lietzke had to eagle it. He had an opportunity with the ball 20 feet from the hole after two shots.
 
But he missed the first putt, the ball curling four feet off to the side, and then proceeded to miss the second putt to wind up at 9-under and fall behind Tewell.
 
In hindsight, Tewell - Gilders host for the week - lost the tournament in the second round Friday, a calm day when Lietzke shot a 63 and most of the field shot their best scores of the week. Tewell shot a 70, good by journeyman standards but not when compared to the tournament leaders.
 
I lost the tournament in that dead calm day on Friday, Tewell agreed.
 
Allen Doyle won the money title and the Charles Schwab Cup as the outstanding Senior golfer of 2001, despite shooting 73-74-72-76-219. He donated his entire prize of a $1 million in tax-deferred annuities to a host of charities.
 
As soon as I saw all those holes cut on the left side, I was a dead duck, said Doyle. It was set up for someone who plays a fade, and I am a low draw player.
 
Full-field scores from the Senior Tour Championship